I’m lousy at finances. I try to avoid looking at them as much as possible. It turns out I’ve been overpaying my National Insurance tax for about 2 years.
So I checked the HMRC website to actually understand what this mysterious tax is. I’ve paid it for approx 5 years now. I figured it was time I knew what it was for.
But the website is a Escher staircase of endless looping links and innumerable forms. Fill refund form SC100S, Fill another form SC100SD. Send us a calligraphic, handwritten letter using your blood detailing your entire life from the womb onwards.
After many hours of reading and yet understanding nothing I decided I would stay self-employed but ask for something called a low-earning exemption. (apparently you can do this.)
So I called them. Them NI people. When dealing with the government you need to call. There’s too much red tape to navigate with a normal human brain. You can only hope that you get some guy who knows something about the red tape.
So this nice, mild sounding Welsh guy asked me why I wanted to do get this exemption thing.
I immediately went into a one minute spiel about how I didn’t think there was any point in paying NI because the government would most probably collapse in the future plus they’d be in colossal debt and I’d never see my pension anyway.
Besides, I’d probably die well before then.
So what would be the point of paying?
I heard the man take a deep breath.
“Ok lets put that aside, but why do you not want to close your account?”
I didn’t understand the question. What account? Would does he mean not want to close it? I don’t want to close anything. I just want my money back. Frankly this tax thing, I don’t understand any of it. It might as well be written in that squiggly font that your printer sometimes shoots out when its having a fit.
“Well… because I didn’t earn any money in the year 2010 from freelance work and I don’t see why I should pay more NI, it already comes out of salary”
What does this guy not get? He should have realized by now that the government will collapse in the future. NI contributions are a massive hoax.
“No, no I mean why don’t you just close your account if you are no longer self-employed?”
“Uhm it would be too much trouble to re-open it again if I became self-employed again.”
Like Duh. I’m not calling you every 6 months.
“But do you plan on being self-employed in the future?”
“No. I don’t know. Maybe. I’m currently employed full-time.”
I have no idea. I’m not a soothsayer! Come on guy, pick it up.
“Are you actively looking for work? Through advertising or answering adverts?”
“No… I’m employed full-time”
“Since you’ve essentially not been self-employed for over a year, it would be better to end your self employment.
“But what I got self-employed again?”
“Then you can call us and we will open your account.”
“But what I lost my job?”
“Well that’s a different matter, but until then it’s better if you close your self-employment.”
“But what if I was self-employed tomorrow?”
“Then you must call us. What do you have against closing your account?”
“It would be a right pain to do all this again!”
“No, it would just been a phone call or you could do it online.”
“Oh well, OK I guess that makes sense…”
….since you beat me down about it.