Saturday, October 17, 2009

Filling in Forms

I'm self-employed and am fortunate enough to work for several different employers.

In order to claim my fees and expenses for the roleplay and teaching work that I do, I have to fill in forms.

The forms all tend to be different, and the people I work for pay different mileage rates, and although it's a bit tedious, I can live with it and I'm grateful to have this interesting work.

But some of the work I do is for a University, which is located Somewhere in England.

Every time I make a claim, I have to fill in a form. Because I'm lucky enough to work there quite often, I can sometimes put the claim for several different days' work on one form. However, I work for several different departments and I have to fill in different forms for each.

Every time I fill in one of these, it wants to know my name, my date of birth, my personnel number (if known - and I DO know it) my National Insurance number, my gender, my bank sort code, my bank account number, the name on the account, whether I'm an employee of the University, whether they should deduct tax, whether they should deduct National Insurance, whether I'm a student, my nationality, my ethnicity, whether I'm disabled or able-bodied, the details of what the fee's for, the amount of the fee, the details of the expenses and the names of my Giant African Land Snails.

Okay, I lied about the names of the Giant African Land Snails, though I'd be happy to give them.

Now then, every form that I fill in from the University is sent to the person who employed me and they send it to Finance.

And in the fullness of time I get a pay slip from Finance. This comes at the end of the following month - - so if I send in a claim before the September deadline - which is towards the end of September - I will get paid at the end of October.

The pay slip tells me my payroll number and my National Insurance Number and then gives me the following explanation of what they're paying me: - I've made up the figures but this is how it looks:

R Fees 195.00
R EXP - TAX 29.82

TAX 45.00

Total deductions 45.00

Net pay 179.82

So I rang the Finance Office and asked if the R EXP - TAX bit meant that they were taxing my expenses, and if so, then why? - - She didn't seem to know if they were, or why they were, if they were. Could anyone else help me? Err - - no. I sighed gently and gave up.

Two things.

Firstly, all my fees get lumped together and it's nearly impossible to check whether they're paying me the right amount, or deducting the right amount of tax. Why can't they list the jobs individually? Or, since every claim form has an individual number and I keep a record of these, why can't they give me the numbers of the forms that the pay relates to?

And secondly, since I work for the place very regularly and indeed have a personnel number, wouldn't you think they would have a computer somewhere that's capable of remembering that I am white and able-bodied and female and have custody of some Giant African Land Snails?

Surely my National Insurance Number would identify me? Or my Personnel Number? So why on earth do I have to fill in all this stuff, every single time?

Just occasionally a form gets lost somewhere of course, but it's very hard for me to track down if it has, or if I've been paid the correct amount. A couple of times when I've checked very persistently, I haven't been. Was I overpaid or underpaid? - - I think you can guess.

I suspect that every self-employed person working for the University has at least one lost form a year, and I think that this is saving the University a small fortune. I wish they'd use it to update their computer system.

I love the work though.


Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

...All very fascinating but the main thing is - what ARE the land snails called? My guess is that the male land snail is called Marco Pierre White and the lady African land snail is called Helen Worth.

12:56 am  

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