The Tax Man Cometh
by Ron Simmonds
I had been living in Germany for about six years
when the local tax office decided to investigate my claims for those past
I had been living in Germany for about six years when the local tax office decided to investigate my claims for those past six years.
On the designated morning two officials descended upon me, carrying bulky briefcases, and wearing the appropriate stern, inland revenue, expressions.
I ushered them in with a smile. I had nothing to hide. Apart from that, their boss just happened to be a mate of mine. We played chess once a week and, because he was the better player, I let him win most of the time.
He had warned me to have at least two bottles of cognac handy for the visit.
'But, that is corruption!' I cried.
'Better make it three, then. One each to take away and one to drink there,' he replied.
The official reason for the visit was to check my workroom, see what was in it, what I needed for work that would be claimable, for a musician: tape deck, keyboards, record player, music library, and what could only be construed as being for pleasure (e.g., casting couch, dim lighting, pink drapes, floor-length mirrors, handcuffs, &etc.).
Once settled in we sat down and chewed the fat for a bit, had a little taste, and then I suggested that we all go up and take a look at my workroom. Get it over with.
Not at all. They were quite comfortable. Maybe later.
Another little taste.
There was a knock on the door. Two uniformed police officers stood there. I let them in quickly. They seemed to know the tax men and greeted them warily, the way one does with such people.
My car insurance company had recently returned one of my premiums, saying I had paid too much. Now they had decided that had been an error. Instead of telling me they had told the police. As I wasn’t allowed to drive the car without insurance the law had come around to warn me.
A quick phone call to the insurance company, employing my exquisite command of the language, and a careful choice of words not to be found in any German dictionary, soon cleared things up.
We all had a jolly good laugh at that, but the police refused a little taste, saying they were on duty, just like they do in the movies. I gave them one of the bottles, just in case. You never know when little items like that may come in useful.
They all left together. To my surprise the police officers insisted that I accompany them to their police car.
Hello! I thought. I’ve had the Mr. Nice Guy bit, now comes the rough stuff.
When we got out into the street it must have looked pretty damning. One police car, one unmarked car, two uniformed officers of the law, two guys in suits who could have been plain clothes, and me.
‘Shake hands,’ said one of the cops.
‘Shake hands. It’s for the neighbours,’ he added.
I shook hands all round.
Twice, to make sure.
Copyright © 2001, Ron Simmonds. All Rights Reserved