Shropshire Star

Peter Rhodes on the taxman, computers and a worrying silence from the NHS

Whoever forms the next government after today's General Election will inherit a grandads' army of about nine million old folk who are now paying income tax, many simply as a result of the state pension rising.

No news is good news?

So how easy is it for the average elderly Brit, with perhaps only a passing knowledge of computers, to cope with the HMRC taxation process? I spent some desperate hours dabbling in it a few days ago. For reasons I won't bore you with, I became self-employed some months ago. My worry was that, with income tax no longer deducted at source, I might run up a debt. By my own reckoning, I already owed HMRC about £1,000 in unpaid tax.

At the end of the application process, which was by far the most complicated, incomprehensible and infuriating damn thing I have ever attempted online, HMRC insisted that, far from me owing them money, I had actually overpaid them by nearly £6,000.