The new year greeted me with first one then two communications notifying me that the government owes me money! This should be cause for celebration, right? After all, its like a bonus $20 found in an old pair of jeans or shoved between the cushions of the sofa… Ah… not quite so simple here in India my friends…
1. First Notice
When I opened the first notice, was puzzled then light dawned as I realized it was the government was telling me they owed me money, I started laughing so hard, tears came out of my eyes…. why?
- It could be the absurdly small amount – Rs 3 ($0.05) whereas the postage alone cost more at Rs 5!
- It could be the delay in processing – This was for 2009 and… let me check my calendar… yup! Took only 5 years to process!
- Add to that a general acceptance that the chances of my ever actually getting the money is about, well, nil…??
Groan?! So just enjoy a good laugh and forget about it. Or if a glutton for punishment, look into it further and get no where after insanely frustrating efforts. For a couple of pennies, who cares, right? Wrong…
2. Second Notice
When I received the 2nd notice, realized something more pernicious was at work and I just might have to DO something and not merely be amused!
This was for 2012 – 13 and more money – a whopping seven rupees! Yes, more than double at the grand old figure of INR 7! Oh wow! We are up to $0.11 for this for a total of $0.16!!
So… where is the money? How do I get it?? And just what the heck is a ‘demand adjustment year 2009-10″ showing up again…
Oh gawd… does it mean what I think it means??
Unhelpful contact information:
- The email results in an auto-acknowledgement but no action even after a couple of business days
- The Income Tax Centre number is out of service
- The Ayakar Sampark Kendra takes a dozen tries to get through and then they really can’t help you except to give another phone number for the Income Tax processing centre in Bangalore
- The Bangalore number – again after multiple attempts – has an IVR that doesn’t accept inputs. Repeatedly I would press “1” and get the same recorded voice “Sorry we haven’t received any input.” Arghh!
So then? Call a helpful CA friend who gently broke the news that my suspicions were true… The government may owe me money but seems to think I owe them more?! So have taken every one of those little pennies back!
Yup. That’s what the “Demand Adjustment Year” means.
Notices oh notices!
Now do I really owe the government money? Nope – not one paise! I have paid my taxes in full! For the year in question, the income tax authorities calculated a small amount of additional taxed owed when processing my regular return. I duly paid it immediately after receiving the notice, sending the tax payment challan (receipt) details with the revised return notice.
So… oh.. about three years ago I received a notice saying the additional tax payment was pending. Proof was duly handed over – AGAIN – and I was assured the matter was taken care of… repeatedly asked for copies of the ‘confirmation’ that the tax records were updated and was assured ‘all is in order’ with nothing further required.
As I received no further notices and I’d properly paid my taxes after all, let the matter rest. Who wants to fight, push and persistently follow-up like a nagging hag? Oh clearly I am a foolish one!
Bottom line – the government owes me next to nothing but is keeping it all with the burden of proof – yet again – on me to demonstrate I owe nothing but am owed!
[In suave baritone in overly dramatic enunciation] :
Will our intrepid heroine manage to get the Income Tax Department to finally update her records after 5 years?
Will she get her money back…. ever?
Anyone else been ‘robbed’ of money ‘owed’… or have other bureaucratic nonsense or tax woes to share??
Loosely written in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge – Cliffhanger
I think you just broke my brain with that story of bureaucratic madness…
Oh there will be more to come! Trust me! Nothing can wrap one up in more red tape than dealing with Indian bureaucracy!!
LOL! What “fun” 😉
Can’t wait for the next instalment….
May have to wait awhile… given that it only took 5 years to get to this point?!
If it turns out that you owe any back taxes, let us know. I’m sure your blog readers could gather together random coins of many currencies for you – at least I could give you my leftover rupees.
Ever so kind m’dear! However forget random coins – if we really want to have some fun – could give a million Indonesian Rupiah or Vietnamese dong!?
In truth – I’ve developed a doggedly stubborn streak and will prevail in reminding the tax dept that they really do have my already!! Feeling like David vs Goliath or some such! 😉
Head hurty 😉
Just imagine my state! Now need to dig through dusty papers and probably get further ‘proof’ from the bank too – duly certified by the bank manager no doubt. It isn’t such a simple thing… and while the tax department loses track of money and demands ‘proof’ after ‘proof’, doesn’t seem so inclined to offer any kind of confirmation or ‘proof’ that they have done their job updating records?!
It will probably cost you 100 times more than you’ll receive! 🙂
Only 100 times? Try a couple thousand times! 🙂 And the likelihood of my getting anything back is zilch for such a small amount. Best case is they adjust against my 2014 – 2015 taxes… ???
I think I’d just leave the country 😉
Yeah, well… guess I’m a glutton for punishment after all! I still LIKE living here for the most part?!
Really can’t say ‘Welcome to India’:) but surely stay light years away from such government notices. And as the mighty old proverb goes, a CA in need is a CA indeed!
Yeaaaupp! I’ve filed tax returns here since 2003 and let’s just say, there have been all sorts of learnings along the way! A good, honest, reliable and efficient CA is worth their weight in gold!!
Thanks for sharing. Appreciate knowing that idiocy is universal. 🙂
Sigh… alas that is true but there are moments in India that take it to a completely different level! My sense of humour and patience have been finely honed by all sorts of nonsense that defies any logic!
Sounds almost exactly like the US government. The US owes Hubby and I $3000 from 4 years ago. We have yet to see it. Every year since then when we go to our accountant to have our taxes done, she sends in a request for a progress report of the the incident. We get notified that it is still in process and will be notified when the credit is on our taxes.
Such is life… no matter where you live. 😉
Haha! Many thanks for putting it into perspective! Haven’t ever experienced delays in refund processing in Canada – think once the money made it to my bank account before I received the notice confirming there was a refund?!
Here there have been some notorious backlogs and this recent spat of notices for piddly amounts seems to be a result of pushes to clear it.
Wish me luck as I battle bureaucracy especially as it seems I don’t have a copy of the original challan so just requested my bank to issue a confirmation of payment which will be submitted as proof.
In the end, I may simply have to pay twice – less the 13 rupees the government already adjusted?!
I like reading through a post that will make men and women think.
Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!
Ditto! Thanks for stoppin’ by.. 🙂