February 26, 2013
Government Threatens to Shut Down Business Over $144 in Late Taxes (that weren't actually late)
Yesterday my wife and I got served by an agent of the state's tax fraud investigation unit. The agent went to my wife's business and accused her of not filing her taxes. He then served her with an order that if she didn't pay the taxes within five days the state would force her to close her business.
How much was she accused of owing? $144.
The government wanted to shut down a business that has four full time employees, and half a dozen part time employees over .... $144!?!?!?
But here's the thing, my wife had paid the taxes and our bookkeeper had the receipts to prove it.
The agent then confessed that they were way behind in recording receipts right now so there was no real way to know who had paid and who hadn't at this point. But it was still up to us to prove we had paid the taxes in question. We were guilty until proven innocent.
I don't blame the pencil-necked bean counter for this. He's just doing his job. He's just doing what all mindless bureaucrats do, a mere cog of the vast government machine do.
The real problem here is government itself. It is simply the nature of the beast. They need money, and you have it.
Whenever any person in government claims they need more government in order to help business, just remember that no matter how good their intentions are that it is simply not in the nature of the government to help.
Sure, my wife's business actually does directly benefit from certain government goodies she gets. But at what price? A government so large and with so few limits to its power that it can, on the whim of the misfiling of a piece of paper, presume you guilty until proven innocent, confiscate your property, and put people out of work.
We're from the government and we're here to help, remains the scariest phrase in the English language.