Taxing Taxing, Part 2

, , , , | Working | March 28, 2014

(I’m a graduate student from New Mexico attending San Diego State University in California. It’s my second year in state when I get a call from the California equivalent of the IRS.)

Tax Board: “We are calling because you didn’t pay your taxes for the previous year.”

Me: “For which year?”

Tax Board: “[Year I first arrived in California].”

Me: “Yes. I was not a California resident that year.”

Tax Board: “Yes, but you were living in California.”

Me: “True, but I was maintaining my New Mexico residency. I paid New Mexico state income taxes for that year. I’m a graduate student and since I could not guarantee that I would be staying past the first year, I was maintaining my New Mexico residency in case I didn’t pass through the first year.”

Tax Board: “But you were still living in California.”

Me: “But I was not a California resident. What money is this about?”

Tax Board: “We have a record of interest on [bank account] of $800.”

Me: “That account is drawn on a bank in New Mexico.”

Tax Board: “But you were living in California.”

Me: “But I was maintaining my New Mexico residency. I specifically did not move my accounts over nor did I register my car nor get a driver’s license in California until this year. My voter registration was for New Mexico. I was not a California resident.”

Tax Board: “But you were living in California when you earned the money.”

Me: “But I was maintaining my New Mexico residency. I was not a resident of California.”

Tax Board: “But if you are living in California when you earn money, you must pay California taxes on it.”

Me: “That makes no sense. That means anybody who is physically in California whenever any interest is earned means they owe California income tax and that clearly isn’t true.”

Tax Board: “But as soon as you started living in California, you owed California income tax on any money you earned. You weren’t just visiting. You were living here.”

Me: “Wait a minute. It seems every government agency here in California has a different idea of ‘residency.’ The DMV seems to think I needed to register my car as soon as I drove over the border from Arizona. The university says I’m not a resident until I’ve lived here a year. And now you’re telling me that I’m a resident as soon as I earned any money.”

Tax Board: “Yes, you owe California income tax on money you earned while living in California.”

Me: “You say I owe taxes on $800 of interest income? That’s what, eight dollars of taxes I owe?”

Tax Board: “That’s right.”

Me: “I’ll be happy to write you a check for $8 in exchange for a refund of the $10,000 in out-of-state tuition I had to pay.”

Tax Board: “Excuse me?”

Me: “If I’m liable for taxes, then I demand the services that those taxes paid for. San Diego State is a state-run institution. It is funded by my tax revenues. I was charged out-of-state tuition. But you, the tax franchise board, are saying that I am a resident of California. Refund me my out-of-state tuition. You can take the eight bucks out of that.”

Tax Board: “… I think we might be able to overlook this.”

 

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Thoughts Suspended

, , , , , | Right | March 11, 2014

(I am in a reserve officer training class at a sheriff’s academy. Enrollment in this class is done through a community college, not the sheriff’s department. When it is time to do the firearms instruction, you have two choices: you can use your own firearm if it is one of the authorized service pistols, or you can borrow one from the academy. If you borrow one, you need a driver’s license for proof of identity in case something happens to the firearm.)

Student: “Well, I don’t have my license.”

Deputy #1: “Then we can’t loan you the pistol.”

Student: “But I need to do this range stuff to graduate, right?”

Deputy #1: “Yes. That is why we tell people to bring their license if they need to borrow a firearm. We cannot lend you one without it.”

Student: “I can’t bring one in. I don’t have a license right now.”

Deputy #2: “What? I saw you drive up here. What do you mean, you don’t have a license now?”

Student: “Well, it was suspended.”

Deputy Sergeant: “Did you just tell us you are driving on a suspended license?”

Student: “Yeah. It sucks.”

(Deputy #1 and #2 share a look.)

Deputy Sergeant: “So which car is yours?”

(The student points it out.)

Deputy Sergeant: “And you drove that here on a suspended license?”

Student: “Yeah. Like I said, it sucks.”

Deputy Sergeant: “Okay, well, let me see what I can do.”

(The deputy sergeant goes to the office, and comes back about 15 minutes later.)

Deputy Sergeant: “When you found out that your license was suspended, did they also inform you that it was for a failure to appear on your drunk driving case and that there was a warrant for your arrest?”

Student: “Uh, let me think… Yeah. There was something like that in the letter.”

Deputy Sergeant: “Well, that warrant is why you are under arrest.”

Student: “What!?”

(The rest of the class was amazed at the idiocy that this guy displayed. His mom came by later to get the car. She was not pleased with her son, and she had no idea he even had a drunk driving incident!)

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Going Totally Off The Wall

, , | Right | March 4, 2014

(I work for a company that builds homes and develops land. As per California law, we warranty our homes for a ten-year period after the house is bought. Our warranty covers structural defects.)

Me: “Warranty. [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Hello, my house has a structural defect. I want you to fix it.”

Me: “Okay, ma’am. Could you give me your address? And what exactly is the defect in question?”

Caller: “My address is [address].”

Me: “Okay, I see you in our system. Could you tell me the problem, and I will see what I can do about entering a ticket for you.”

Caller: “The walls are not strong enough. You have to send someone here to put in better walls.”

Me: “The walls are not strong enough? Are they bowing, or cracking?”

Caller: “No, the ones that are still standing are fine.”

Me: “The ones that are… still standing…?”

Caller: “Yes. I wanted to remodel to make my living room and kitchen one big room, but it was too expensive. I saw a demolition crew do wall removals on those home improvement shows, so I just got a chainsaw and cut the wall out myself.”

Me: “Okay… so you ‘remodeled?'”

Caller: “Yeah! But then my house caved in.”

Me: “… Ma’am, are you saying you cut down a load-bearing wall in your home with a chainsaw?”

Caller: “Well, I didn’t know it was load-bearing. But this is clearly a structural defect! The roof caved in, and I’ve been living here for 16 years! I could sue you for endangering my life all this time!”

Me: “Ma’am, it was not a structural defect.”

Caller: “How can you say that?! THE ROOF CAVED IN!”

Me: “Because you chopped down a load-bearing wall!”

Caller: “THIS IS NOT MY FAULT! I DESERVE A BRAND NEW HOUSE! IT WAS A STRUCTURAL DEFECT, AND I HAVE A WARRANTY!”

Me: “Your house was under warranty for 10 years. Your house is 16 years old. It was structurally sound until you made it structurally unsound, by CUTTING OUT A LOAD-BEARING WALL WITH A CHAINSAW.”

Caller: “YOU OWE ME A NEW HOUSE! YOU OWE ME A NEW HOUSE! I’LL SUE! I’LL SUE YOU!” *click*

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How To Scar Your Siblings For Life

, , | Related | March 3, 2014

(I am the oldest of four kids and at my youngest sister’s friend’s birthday party. As most of the small children guests and their parents have gone home, I finally go in the bouncy house. Please note that I have been waiting most of my life to do this, and no children were harmed.)

Me: *sitting patiently on top of bouncy house slide*

Sister: *climbing ladder* “[My Name], move!”

Me: *puts hands on my sister’s shoulders* “Long live the king!”

(I then proceed to push her off the ladder, cackling wildly.)

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Just Got Rid Of His Breadwinner

, , , , | Working | January 22, 2014

(The owners of the bakery I work at recently retired. Our new owner is a kid fresh out of USC whose father bought the business for him to run. It is our first meeting with him.)

Owner: “I’ve been looking at the books and I think I’ve figured out the best way to improve productivity. First of all, due to the recent recession were going to have to implement some cutbacks, starting with salaries.”

(He then announces that most of the employees are getting at least a 10 percent pay cut and the head baker, a man with over 30 years of experience, is seeing his salary cut in half.)

Head Baker: “Why the h*** should we get a pay cut? Business has been improving year after year for a solid decade here and the economic downturn actually lowered our operating costs.”

Owner: “You just don’t understand economics. Now, you can either take the pay cut or find another job.”

(The head baker walked out without a word. It took exactly two days for the new owner to realize that he had fired the only man who knew all of the recipes and who dealt with over half our regular clientele. After a particularly vicious scolding by his father over the phone he was forced to hire the head baker back at nearly double his original pay.)

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