NICs twisted even tighter

Posted by @ 11:06 am on Thursday 26th May, 2011.
Categories: A bit of a rant

I'm getting increasingly fecked-off by the whole sorry state of affairs that is otherwise known as the National Insurance Contributions system...

Today I tried to pay the two-week shortfall for the 2010-2011 tax year. I like to keep my accounts simple - if I owe, I pay ASAP, I don't like to be in debt. Paying now would be a simple operation, you'd have thought.

Well...

I went to the Directgov website and clicked to the page entitled "When and how to top up your National Insurance contributions". On there it clearly states that voluntary contributions can be paid via my bank or building society's internet or telephone banking service. Indeed, clicking the "how to pay" link brings up another page which states "HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) recommends that you make your voluntary Class 3 National Insurance payments electronically" and goes on to justify that recommendation as follows:

Paying electronically:

  • is safe and secure
  • gives you better control over your money
  • provides certainty about when your payment will reach HMRC
  • avoids postal costs and delays
  • may lower your bank charges
  • lets you pay at a convenient time if you use Direct Debit or internet/telephone banking

No probs, I'd much rather pay electronically than by cheque. I'll go for that.

I scrolled down that page to the section entitled "Paying by internet or telephone banking", where it states "You can use your bank or building society services to pay your quarterly payment request or any deficiency payment by internet or telephone banking. To make a payment you will need the account details given below and your voluntary Class 3 National Insurance reference number."

So I went rooting through stacks of documents looking for my "voluntary Class 3 National Insurance reference number". Damned if I could find it anywhere here, so I phoned them up again to get said number.

It turns out that they can't give me that number.  It won't be generated until sometime between September and November 2012!

I asked them to generate a number for me now so that I can get paid up, negating the need for them to send me a begging-letter later this year. "No can do" was the gist of the reply. When I asked why it couldn't be done, they had no answer apart from to point out that their system won't allow it. They did, however, tell me that I could send them a cheque... which sort of defeats the object of them recommending payment by electronic means.

So I can't pay electronically. They tell me that I can and then prevent me from doing so. Eejuts!

FFS, I can feel the will to live ebbing away.

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