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Dr John Hawkins

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Tax Return and Lease Renewal

Posted on 2011/01/29 18:03:28 (January 2011).

[Wednesday 26th January 2011]
Very much a day devoted to getting various administrative tasks out of the way.

I'd started to think some time last year I should probably start doing self assessment. Knowing that the deadline for filing your return is the end of January, I had been unusually organised and had called the tax office in mid December to make sure I had plenty of time.

In order to file your tax return online you need a "Unique Taxpayer Reference" - a 10 digit number (quite why a National Insurance Number isn't enough I don't know) - so I'd requested that in December, having been informed I'd have to wait up to 7 days for it to arrive. Come the start of January I hadn't received it, but thinking it was just the Christmas post backlog I left it a few days before calling to chase it up. It turned out that in addition to the 7 days, in my case they required another four weeks to actually create my tax records (?). So I had finally received the UTR at the end of last week, and as soon as I got it went to the website to start filing my tax return - only to be told on registration I'd then need an "activation pin" which would also need to be sent through the post, and could take another 7 days.

That actually arrived today, and I'm pleased to say I was from then on unhindered and was actually able to successfully file my tax return. Which, all in all, only took about an hour or two. I only got stumped by one part where there were four different confusingly worded pension options to choose, none of which actually applied - I eventually found a note in the accompanying documentation which explained.

Very glad to have finally been able to get this out of the way - I'd been pretty sure my tax affairs were straightforward and I was unlikely to have owed anything, but it had been weighing on my mind anyway the last few weeks - mainly just that all these administrative delays might mean I'd end up missing the deadline for filing, and I'd end up on some kind of blacklist of ne'er-do-wells. In fact I ended up getting a very small rebate, which was nice.

I also negotiated the renewal on the lease of our flat today - another weight off my mind. I was happy to accept a very small rise in rent (although I got them down to half the increase they proposed) but the part that had always rankled in previous years was that they'd always make us sign a brand new contract as though we were new tenants - i.e. with a long break clause in it. This had always seemed a bit ridiculous to me for a renewal, and so I was very pleased about being able to get that bit edited out for the first time - particularly as at the back of my mind I have the ongoing feeling that we really ought to buy somewhere. So we have another year's contract at our current place, but are free to leave at any time (subject to the notice period of course).

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