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