Lindsay of the Inland Revenue helpline said, "We don't want people all over the world registering as self-employed and sending us tax returns every year that say nothing."
Sounded sensible to me. Then came the killer stroke...
"Tell your mission that from me, and give them my name..."
Well I know that the mission has discussed this with many and varied people for a long and burdensome time.
I emailed the mission, following the Davey principle - one always does what the tax authorities tell one to do - but asked them please not to phone me to discuss it. After three calls to the tax office I had no more to contribute to any discussion of tax.
Then I slept on it. The Inland Revenue has already sent me a £200 penalty notice for not filling in a tax return for 2008, which I had not received. What if I didn't fill in tax returns I HAVE received, for 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 ?
So this morning I have filled them all in, calculating as best I can the number of days spent in the UK and declaring solemnly that I have no UK income, no UK property, no UK job, no UK home and thus no UK tax to pay...
Now to send them. It's a thick envelope full of blank pages !