And the law ate my lunch...
A few months ago I got a letter from the great state of Utah telling me that I was being audited. When it came down to it, there had been a small error on my part. I had claimed something in the wrong year (I guess I hadn't read the 8 volumes of the tax code close enough). Well, they told me I owed $300 and Originally (back in October), I asked if we couldn't just switch my claim from 2002 to 2001. They laughed and told me no. I asked to appeal it, and I got a hearing before a judge. It was quite exciting. I was getting my day in court.
What I was aiming for was to just have a one-on-one with somebody who could do something. Somebody to show a bit of mercy to an idiot who misread the tax law. Because I should have gotten the deduction, I just claimed it a year late.
Well, I got my hearing, in front of the judge, and he was quite nice. I explained the error, and he sympathized with me, and told me how that mistake could easily happen.
And then he told me there was nothing he could do about it. The law is the law. The statute of limitations has expired, so even though I shouldn't owe the money, I in fact, according to the law, owe the money.
Technically I could have pushed forward with the appeal. It would have taken up the judges time, the lawyer's time, the tax commission's time (I don't feel bad about taking up their time, maybe it would keep them busy enough that they don't go snooping through YOUR taxes), and the could have written up a note to take before some board at the tax commission, but the chances of me not having to pay are basically nil.
I'm tempted, since I work for a state funded institution, to smuggle $300 worth of office supplies and take the law into my own hands. But I don't know if my super villain name "staple stealing vigilante" or the entire event, "The Great Stapler Stealing Caper" would bring me fame, glory, or a movie deal.
So I'll write out the check, vote libertarian in the next election, and try not to feel bitter about the whole deal.
Anybody need a pack of post-it notes?