20 August, 2009

Our Friends at the Tax Office

This fragment of a prayer was found recently scratched into a piece of a tablet supposedly from an early Mayan rubble site:

Oh, Lord, I beseech you.
Spare me from many more
Encounters with bean-counters
I don't have enough maize or animals to
Continually share with those who
Would be happy only with the first born...

I'm not sure this is an exact translation, but it is apparent to me that the early Maya established the ground work for that wondrous organization we all know and love.

I spent almost an hour on the phone with them this morning (blowing through the better part of a $50.00 BZD top-up too) trying to find out why payments (plus penalties) we have been making for our 2008 taxes were not being credited to that bill.

Now, I know that sometimes we're not the sharpest tacks in the drawer, but we're far from being dumb as a stump either. Anyway, after a somewhat circular conversation it developed that the money we had been sending in was instead being credited to our 2009 estimated taxes and not to the 2008 tax liability, even though the vouchers we included with each payment clearly said 2008 on them.

Apparently, in their minds (however small and rigid those are), since the money was received in 2009, it couldn't possibly be meant to apply to 2008. Even if, to them it appeared as though we were making no attempt to pay down the 2008 debt.

Eventually, the nice lady I talked to did say she could move those payments back to 2008, if that would be ok. I told her I didn't know if it would be ok or not, as so far, it sounded to me that no matter how much or how often we paid, we were still going to owe the original amount.

I finally got ahead of the conversation enough to ask her if we did move the payments back, what would be the bottom line on what we owed. After a few more minutes of scratchy sounding dead air time on the phone, she came back and said that it would be about half of what we originally owed, but that, doing so would do nothing to take care of our 2009 taxes.

Well, I told her, I was of a mind to let 2009 slide for a bit as I wanted to concentrate on 2008. Let's go ahead and move the payments back. Ok, she would do that. A couple of minutes more of scratchy, screechy dead air time, and she reported the deed was done.

Now, to be fair, she was trying to be as helpful as she could be, and even was pleasant to talk to. It's just that I felt we had spent most of the hour chasing our tails. A fun exercise in its own right, but not real productive.

Anyway, she asked if we had access to a computer and the Internet. I answered in the affirmative and she advised me to download one of their many publications concerning tax withholding and estimated taxes. Further, she advised when we make our final payment for this bit, to call them again (really?) and ask for the final payoff figure, as it will likely be different than the figure called for on the last voucher.

All good advice and I will do everything she suggested. But in the meantime, I'm so

"Dizzy, I’m so dizzy my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool it never ends
And it’s You girl makin’ it spin
You're making me dizzy"

Oh, wait a minute. That's Tommy Roe's Dizzy from 1969.

Where's my Belikin?


Julian in SC said...

I am sure that they aren't going to credit your account for the fifty bucks on the phone! Hah! It does boggle the mind.

I am getting ready to receive my first Social Security check (direct deposit) and I can't wait to see what goes wrong with that. At the rate the present administration is going through cash ($1.58 trillion USD deficit this year just announced) I figured I had better get any and all I could as fast as I can! *grin*

Don't you wish you were old enough to start drawing yours??


Vivien said...

I hope they are not charging you interest on the outstanding 2008 balance. Do they pay you interest on the $ they are crediting to the 2009 estimated tax owing account? I don't know anything much about the Us tax system but here if you owe them money they charge you quite a bit of interest on any unpaid balance.
Good luck with this.

Harley said...

I just finished reading your very valuable Permanent Residency saga, then continued "back in time" to this tax post.

My tag on the Belize Forum site is Reilly. Since I "owe you" for your residency application advice, feel free to send your tax questions to me at Between now and January, I should be able to find time to give you a decent response. :-)