As far as we know, all Time Lords but one were wiped out in the Time War with the Daleks. The details are sketchy; the survivor doesn’t seem to want to talk about it, for reasons of future storylines. However, I can exclusively reveal that some other Gallifreyans also escaped: they toppled through time, took a wrong turning just outside Cleethorpes and are now working at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs as tax inspectors.
My evidence is compelling and confusing. To be on the safe side I am currently inspecting all my photographic prints for missing or faded relatives. I am also naturally on the look-out for DeLoreans containing white-haired professors and thirty-year-old teenagers; telephone boxes containing valley stoners and sundry historical figures; and of course any one of at least ten odd gentlemen in varying degrees of fancy dress accompanied by screeching companions with a propensity for tripping, dawdling and/or wandering off.
Here’s the evidence. I would show a simple timeline of events, but there isn’t one. There are two. I shall present them in handy tabular form.
In my 04/05 tax return, I say that I’m now permie and not self-employed. Thus I’m paying tax through PAYE, and want to reduce my payments on account for 05/06 to nil. (This being a mechanism for getting the self-employed to pay tax in chunks in advance through the year rather than in one lump.)
|Jan 06||HMRC says that’s fine.||HMRC sets the Jan 06 and Jul 06 payments on account for 05/06 to half my tax bill for 05/06, as calculated eleven months in the future.|
|Jun 06||HMRC sends me a statement. Payments on account for both Jan 06 and Jul 06: zero. Nothing to pay. Lovely.||HMRC sends me an incorrect statement saying I have nothing to pay, despite my clearly having missed the Jan 06 payment on account, and with another payment pending in Jul 06.|
|Dec 06||In my 05/06 tax return I declare two days of freelance work for the whole tax year, done perfectly legitimately on the side while remaining permie. I pay the tax in full.|
|Jan 07||HMRC decides that those two days mean I should have paid half my 05/06 tax bill on account in Jan and Jul, and sends an exiled Time Lord to sort it out. See column #2.||HMRC says yes, well, paying the tax in full is all well and good now, but what about those payments on account? You should have paid up months ago!|
|Feb 07||HMRC sends me a statement. It thanks me for paying my 05/06 tax bill in full, but warns me that I still owe them money: interest accrued on the Jan 06 and Jul 06 payments on account for which I inexplicably failed to cough up.|
This morning I phoned them up. A nice old man with a nasty cough performed about three hundred identity checks before telling me that I’d have to write to customer services. So I cranked up OpenOffice.
In the letter I have appealed to the Lord High Council of Gallifrey (Tax Department) that, under paragraph zz9 plural z alpha of the Finance (Alternate Timelines) Act, it is unfair to retrospectively apply charges to a corporeal sentient being without formally notifying that being in all applicable timelines such that he, she or it has the ability to avoid late payment. Subsequently (or is that presequently) I have decided to retrospectively fine them £1, effective 1 Jan 1665, the founding date of the Board of Taxes. I imagine that’s accrued some interest.
Anyway, that’ll teach them. In fact it may already have taught them. Oh yes.