Friday, April 24, 2009

Sally Capone: A Rant

Before we moved to the Commonwealth, J and I came out househunting for a weekend and left H behind. I learned a lot that weekend, but there was much that I didn't grasp. The realtor had described everything that was foreign to us from cannoli to the vehicle excise tax. In light of the fact that we imbibed all this information on Special K bars and water in the midst of seeing thirty-six houses in two days, it's easy to understand why I retained very little. (Can you tell our realtor was thin and full of energy? Yeah, I don't know about you, but I'm not the most pleasant when I have to skip meals.)

I've ranted about the excise tax before, but this year it gets even better. It's almost May, I've just barely paid mine but only after threat of a warrant being issued for me. Yes, that would be cost effective. First, they'd have to pay a divorce attorney because it would be all unbeknownst to J as he drove home in his trusty Ford Focus that he had $55.12 owed to the great Commonwealth and that was the reason he was being arrested after a 12-hour shift.

THEN they'd have to pay for court-appointed counsel because our broke asses can't afford an attorney for the 'charge' of what I guess you could call tax evasion.

Here's how it played out.

Month 1: Oh, here's that pesky excise tax again.

Month 2: Shoot! I didn't pay that, okay, must remember to pay.

Month 3: Note is accompanied by a "Do Not Ignore This Invoice" note and a bill. Tried to pay online. Can't. Went to send check, no more checks in checkbook. Sure that using checks from bank we no longer bank at would be in poor taste, and would probably add check fraud to above criminal charge.

Mid-Month 3: Notice of next course of action: Warrant. Okay, already, I'll pay it. Seriously, does this seem a little aggressive to anyone else? We're not talking years without paying.

If you want me to pay when I have two small children at home, could you at least enable an online payment system? How about taking payment by credit card over the phone? No? Oh, yeah, these were all options I gave to the very helpul and chipper woman at the town treasury office.

Seriously, if you want me to pay money for a car that I own that is being devalued daily by your poorly maintained and salt-ridden roads; please, please give me an easy way to do it. Because if I have to add the cost of foster care because the two trips for this one errand; one to the bank to get money orders and one to the town offices, results in me exploding in a Hulkian rage, I will finally qualify for my own movie. Except instead of a sweet mob version where I'm Al Capone, it would be more Meredith Baxter-Birney when she was shoving fast food in her mouth as a cautionary tale against bulimia on Lifetime Television for Women.

Pay your taxes, folks.


Crafty Mama said...

Being an (almost) lifelong MA resident....they should make it easier for you to part with your hard-earned dollars!

I still remember my Philadelphia-native husband throwing a fit at the DMV over the $70 out-of-state conversion fee when we moved here nine years ago. I was fully expecting a ride in the back of a police car. Good times....:)

That Girl said...

It must be some east coast thing, because every year we have to pay to have our car inspected and then for a new permit and we have two stickers on our windshield to prove we've paid. Weird. I don't get it and it seems like just another way to get money from us (in addition to sales tax). Makes me miss Oregon even more -- Oregonians, we're such rebels!

Sally HP said...

Oh, yes, the stickers never end! We also have to have the annual MAss state inspection with a sticker in the window to prove we've paid, but this is a whole other tax that's paid to the city. The reg goes to the state, the MA inspection to the state and then the excise tax to the city. If they used it for the library, schools or social services, I'd be all for it, but judging from their sad budgets, they're not.