Five days before the deadline, I finally got round to filling in my tax return today. I did so online, and it was painless. For a web application, it’s a pretty good one. I noticed only one absurdity: there’s a box you can fill in “to enter any additional information you feel is needed to support your entries on the Employment form” (box 1.40, tax fans). A note above a big fat text box says:
You should only enter alpha, numeric and the following special characters ()*,-/. You cannot enter more than 2200 characters (including spaces) here.
The £ sign and the Enter or Return key located on your keyboard are not accepted.
Leaving aside the dodgy oh-so-programmerese text, I can’t use a pound sign? OK, it’s only an “additional information” box, but it’s a tax return! I guess this was justified to a PHB using some fluff about character encodings, but it smacks of laziness to me.
And of course I also can’t use plus and equals signs if I want to include some maths, or use a dollar sign if US currency is involved, or quote anything, or use those wacky colons and semi-colons for punctuation, or use multiple paragraphs (erk!), or even use an apostrophe (hey, I know how), an exclamation mark or question mark. I guess I could use txtspk, if only to annoy the Inland Revenue (probably not a good idea).
I didn’t try using the forbidden characters (I didn’t have anything to put in that box). In any case I imagine there’s an amendment to the Criminal Justice bill going through Parliament that makes doing so an offence punishable by five years in prison or something.
One response to “The Joy of Tax”
Hulk say tax money good , more money for hulks present. Puny David Bannersmith, hulk no like no present ggggggggrrrrrrr