So all those things I was going to get done today just didn’t get done. I managed to squeeze in a couple of little things but most of the day was spent in the classic struggle of us against City Hall. Guess who won? Wrong! It was them.
In this battle, which began at 9 a.m. when we discovered my partner’s tax levy had gone up because of my business, I had little chance of ever winning. The issue is not that i didn’t have the best arguments. Rather it is there is really no one to argue with because every person I told my story to explained carefully and not always in a nice tone that it really wasn’t their problem because they were “just doing their job” and I would have to take it to some one else.
The woman at the desk was less than kind when my partner, with some disgust in his voice, tried to explain we wanted to know why the taxes went up. She briskly sent us to another desk and they in turn, referred us to another woman who kindly sought out the phone number for us to call of someone in a different city who does the assessments.
After waiting all day and turning down work I finally got an answer about 4:00 pm. The explanation given was that it was the Minister of Finance who changed the rules and the rules were changed because of apple pies.
OOOOOOPPPPPS! Back up. Apple pies you say? Well yes. Let me try to explain.
I run a small business which uses our shared office space for some files and the computer. The actual business I do is not done on the premises but rather takes me to other people’s places of business. I sell no product or produce from this location but rather service. The same could be said for a plumber or someone who does typing for hire. No parking is required. No one comes to the door to buy anything. The only public service required for such a business is the postal service and that is paid for well.
So they are putting an assessment cost on this property (which isn’t mine by the way) because I have this business. The nice man on the phone explained the ministry changed the rules because, “…for example you might have picked the apples on your farm and you sell pies by the side of the road. The bake shop down the street is angry because they pay commercial taxes and you don’t but you are both selling pies. It is unfair competition.”
I chewed on that for a minute and then asked how my business was anything like selling pies. I also wanted to know who could possibly think I was competing with them unfairly when every private coach in the country works from a home base office. He had no answer except more rhetoric about unfair competition.
Now I’m wondering if I were renting an apartment would my landlord have to pay the tax for my home based business.
The long and the short is this. I work from home, our taxes go up because of it. We go to city hall. The receptionist pushes us to the next wicket, they push us to their manager, the manager sends us to some person a city away, who blames the ministry and the ministry blames the bakeshop. The bakeshop blames me because I’m baking pies and selling them. They complain to the ministry. The ministry changes the rules. The guy in the other city has to send someone to assess the situation, the city gets notice from the assessment office that the taxes need to go up and we have to pay $300 more in taxes because I baked a $5 pie – so to speak.
Now do you know why you can’t fight city hall? BECAUSE THEY FOUND A WAY TO MAKE IT YOUR FAULT!