Dealing with the tax office

One of the pains of moving from one country to another is the fact that you need to close off your tax affairs in one country and start afresh in the other (Well, there are certain benefits, but there’s a hell of red tape that you need to go through). I’ve had to go through it for all my personal accounts.

Things were a bit more complicated for my wife as she was running a company called The Joke Shop before she got pregnant and we moved to the Isle of Man. So besides her personal tax affairs there were also the company things that needed sorting out. Unfortuantely she had a dodgy accounting taking care of things for her and he pretty much left her in the lurch once she told him she wanted to close down the business. Today, she recevied a penalty letter for a substantial amount because some paperwork hadn’t been filed. As she stopped trading around 2 years ago you can imagine how the penalty has grown and compounded into a sizable sum, so she was in the middle of a panic attack when she called.

Now, there are quite a few causes of anxiety, and some can well develop into an anxiety attack. But the best way to overcome a panic attack is to share the problem with someone you trust; which is why she got straight on the phone with me.

My advice when dealing with tax issues (well, most issues really) is to take a step back and take stock of the situation. Many times problems which seem insurmountable are simply a result of miscommunication between different parties. In this case I suspect that some paperwork got misfiled and the penalties should be cleared by bringing the tax authorities up to date. Being frozen in a panic can only exacerbate the situation as it interrupts the flow of communication that’s the number one way of resolving these sort of issues.

So always remember to take a step back, take a deep breath and re-examine the situation. Sometimes things aren’t as bad as they seem.

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