Tuesday, 20 October 2009

How not to run a country - part 1

I find myself in a bit of a pickle with the Belgian Federal Tax Authorities. They are chasing me for my tax returns for 2007, and threatening me with a large fine if I don’t obey orders. I am not impressed with this, as I was an employee, paying the Belgian equivelant of PAYE - to the Federal Tax Authorities - at the time. So, obviously unable to cross reference (the Germans forgot to show them how to do that) they want me to provide a certificate to prove I was employed, and thus paid them tax. This is where it gets really good.
I was, at that time, an employee of an EU institution. They could give me a certificate, in theory, but there is a problem. The office that gives such certificates to employees cannot help me, as I am not now an employee. The offices that deal with people in my predicament cannot help, as they do not deal with employees, and the problem relates to the time when I was, indeed, an employee.

I tried to call Luxembourg, where all bucks eventually seem to stop. I got a voicemail message that said “We are sorry we cannot answer your call. All our employees are cruising the Pacific Islands with the Socialist Anti-Poverty Action Group. On our return we are scheduled to take 6 weeks sick leave. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a merry Christmas, and a prosperous 2005″
Tax in Belgium is high. One would like to think the money will be spent on a better filing system, but I suspect that might not be the case. Some investment is also required in the roads and pavements of Brussels. It has been so long since Place de Luxembourg (in front of the European Parliament) has been ploughed, that some paving stones have been trodden down, and are actually level and flush. No doubt this will be rectified as soon as the paperwork is stamped in triplicate.

I did visit the office for paving slabs, which occupies 18 floors at the Ministry of Unecessary Paperwork, on the corner of Boulevard de héros de Waloonian SS and Rue de la Merde, to complain. Being a Monday, it was closed.

Thank you for letting me get that off my chest!

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