Thursday, October 23, 2008
Blue is the colour of taxes
Income taxes freak me out.
When I started as a freelancer I had zero book-keeping experience. In the first three years I have been my own boss this inexperience has led to regular irregularities in my tax declarations. The first big one was in my own disadvantage: I paid over eigth thousand Euros too much social taxes the first year. The third and fourth year combined, I mistakenly applied a rule to my own advantage and "forgot" to pay VAT, which eventually amounted to quite a nice sum. Both mistakes were discovered by the tax bureau.
This can be said in their favour, justice is not a joke to the tax agency. They pay back with the same interest rates they ask, which are pretty extravagant like only Icelandic banks will offer these days. After my first mistake they just paid me back the sum I had paid too much by my own fault, with their extravagant interest rates, making this quite a profitable error for me.
The second time was a different story because the mistake was in my advantage and I had to pay a large fine on top of the sum I owed. The fine was set for 25%. Had they been convinced of fraud - meaning had I known what I was doing - they would have set it at 100%. Had they thought it was simple carelessness, it would have been set at 10%. The 25% indicates I was at grave fault for negligence.
Regulations are that you have the chance to object, so I wrote a letter, hoping to get the fine down to 10%. My request was rejected, but I was invited to explain myself face to face at their office. At first I let the invitation go unanswered. I didn't expect anything much of it, in the end I can take a "no". But when I got a second invitation, I replied. After that visit a wait of six weeks ensued. And then I received the letter. They have dropped the whole fine.
I am surprised.
Looking a little bit silly does have benefits.
That must be it.
Since I had already paid the fine, now that I'll be getting it back it feels like I don't urgently need it, and I'm thinking of buying some shares on the stock market. Yes I am every bit as silly as I look. But really, I can't lose more than I already lost, can I.
I am hesitating between Fortis and ING (that is a joke).
It will probably be solar energy for me.
I am ready for the adventure!