Mar 21 2009
Thank you for your very kind letter.
My initial tax meeting with your very pleasant sub-contracting accountant concluded with a statement I was not expecting to hear. Not the mellifluous, “you’ll be getting a refund of a grand.” Rather, the strong and discordant, “you owe the tax office two thousand dollars.”
After this clamorous utterance, the gentleman rose and shuffled papers to express the it’s time to go, the meeting’s over cues, so in my meek and discombobulated state, I did as visually instructed and stepped aside.
It’s fair to say I was surprised. But variety is the spice of life, a palpitation is as good as exercise and what doesn’t kill us simply makes us stronger. Now I will avoid all clichés like the plague and defer to the genius of those who earn more money than I do.
“Brilliant job,” I thought. “I’ve got the best mind in the business working on this for me.” Although the outcome brought visceral displeasure, I was humbled by the full quarter-hour attention lavished on little ole low-income earning / part-time student me.
That night, God spoke to me in a dream. “Dani,” he said. “Show him the light. Show him that your business expense is a legitimate workplace deduction and then he won’t lose face.”
And so I emailed the accountant this life-rope. He did not reply, but he did recalculate another number – $172. He is a clever duck! But the voice of God again whispered, “it might be best to see somebody else.” Thus, I declined to sign or lodge the return.
And then, two weeks later, I received your lovely letter. How I do like to get mail in the post! It’s so personal. Especially when it is typed in a fun mixture of Arial, Comic Sans, Century Gothic and a colourful type with delightfully compressed kerning – like old friends under a blanket, the letters all squished up together.
I do appreciate the formality of a “regretfully”, it has olde-world charm, expressing detached contrition without descending to the awkward depths of Apology. And it stops well-short of personal responsibility. And that is admirable. It requires strategic mental chess-playing to pull that off, so kudos to you for that seasoned play.
To learn that it was “mistakenly” lodged beggars belief. They are so naughty, those things! They’ve got hidden legs – just like the lizard that sometimes scares me in my garage because he looks like a little snake. Then the legs appear, and all is calm, and he scampers off, just like my errant tax return.
I actually didn’t think it would even be possible for Mr Naughty to run off. I understand, of course, it isn’t your fault. He had natural instinct it seems. Like a homing pigeon. I bet you just looked away for a minute and off he went. Off to lodge himself in an irretrievable crack in the tax office master cabinet. So my congratulations again for performing a miracle. He deserves acknowledgement at the Vatican, in my mind, between Mary McKillop and the Mexican face-of-Jesus Tortilla – our very own Mr Naughty, The Autonomous Tax Return.
Next year I am going to do something quite outrageous. I am going to treat tax time like a wild and decadent fantasy and pay somebody – they can wear a mask if they prefer – to pamper me with the feather boa of respect, and to share the chemistry that comes from the lightning bolt of brain cells actually in synapse.