ther than work related matters, nothing will send a more uneasy chill
down my spine than a letter from the taxman aka Inland Revenue Board.
don't get me wrong, it's not that i've been stashing away funds in a swiss account, or that i'm into money laundering (although i could do with a little more spare cash). it's just that my previous experience with those guys has left me unconvinced
that their current motto (Mesra, Membantu dan Memuaskan
which translates to Friendly, Helpful and Satisfying
) is a valid proclaimation of the IRB's work ethics. (please let me know if anyone ever has a satisfying encounter with them.) i personally feel that they should have embraced virtues like transparent, responsible & fair.
anyway, it was with much trepidation that i received a letter from them 2 weeks ago, conveying the bad news
that i owe them tax for the 2004 assessment year. i honestly don't know how that can be when i have been contributing by monthly deduction since the self-assessment system was implemented that year. not only that, they demanded in their customary high-handed
manner that the outstanding amount be paid within 30 days, or else!
regaining composure after few days, i rummaged through the old records & retrieved the relevant receipts. i mulled
over the matter for a few more days & then proceeded to draft an appeal letter to the powers-that-be, quoting the receipt numbers & payment schedule.
i didn't have to wait long to meet the officer today. he was definitely friendly
but the experience was far from satisfying
. after keying in my tax file number & staring intently at the flat-screen - i was certain i didn't notice an enlightened look on his face - he finally pronounced judgement. i not only don't owe them anything
, i actually have a few thousand ringgit of accumulated overpaid taxes
due to me.
so, dare i ask - since everything is computerised & i owe them nothing, how is it that i STILL
get a letter demanding payment? i did, & he said, with a sheepish smile
, that the said letter was essentially an acknowledgement i had paid the said amount for the said year. really, encik? then how do you explain these words :
actually i didn't ask
the 2nd question because, true to the friendly & helpful
disposition the Board is trying to promote, the officer offered to help me appeal for tax refund. furthermore, my accountant friend never fail to remind me - never mess
with the taxman because he can make your life miserable
with a click of the mouse.
so that's my less-than-satisfying encounter with the taxman. if they had it in their computerised records all this time, why didn't they just return the excess tax voluntarily. it's right there on the screen - i saw it myself. like i said, they should now work on being transparent, responsible & fair.
enough for ordinary folks like us to know FOR SURE what is & what isn't taxable, & not subject to the taxman's whim & fancy;
enough to, willingly & without hesitation, return excess taxes that DO NOT belong to them;
enough not to mete out eager punishment without due consideration that most folks will pay.
however, i'm neither holding my breath expecting the aforementioned changes nor for my cheque to arrive.