Dear Tax Man,
You don’t know me but I give you 20 percent of my earnings every month – every hour, I’m guessing, although I was never great at Maths.
I’d like you to meet my husband.
You don’t know him either. He’s lovely. He used to sub-contract for a man who gave you 40 percent of his earnings but 2 years ago this man’s business failed, so my lovely husband lost his regular earnings, bought the van he used and all the tools in it and tried to make a go at being self-employed.
He’s a carpenter. And although finding work is tough, he still manages to get up every morning, brings me a cup of tea and covers me in kisses before he leaves. He smiles positively at prospective customers, stays up late working out quotes and doesn’t take it (too) personally when people don’t call back to say they don’t want to use him after all. He brushes himself down and looks forward to the next time.
He’s a very optimistic man, my lovely carpenter husband and he’s the most professional, considerate carpenter I’ve ever met. His work is always perfection and he will always go out of his way to ensure complete customer satisfaction. He is very proud of the work he does.
Until he did his Tax Returns for the last year and calculated that he’d earned less money than I, his wife, had over the past 12 months. Now, I work part time in a local school putting children’s pictures on walls and making everywhere look pretty and I know that every job matters, however menial it may seem, but I didn’t have to take out a loan to pay for evening classes in my chosen field and spend the next 20 years trying to hone my skills into a successful career.
To say that he was disappointed with these calculations would be an understatement. And I can’t begin to appreciate how he must be feeling today, after he received the bill from the Tax Man telling him he now has to pay a further £3,000. This will mean that he will have brought home little more than £4,000 last year and we cannot work out how this can be true. Or right. Or fair. Or anything.
What about the limit you’re allowed to earn before tax? Doesn’t this apply to carpenters – did we not read the small print properly? Shouldn’t he actually be eligible for a rebate with earnings this low? Wouldn’t he have ‘earnt’ more if he’d been claiming unemployment benefit?
We don’t go out. We treat ourselves to one take out every fortnight. We buy predominately own brand supermarket products. My lovely husband dyes my hair for me and I cut his. We have compared so many markets and cut so many corners that we’re now going round in circles.
Perhaps you’d like to suggest what we should be doing to try to earn a living in Britain today?
Oh, and we don’t actually have £3,000 to give you.
We look forward to hearing from you with any suggestions you may have.
Del and Debs