Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm Drowning in Paper

I had to pay, or more accurately partially pay my property taxes yesterday. But since I am never able to pay my property taxes all at one time, every year I ask for information about tax relief. Every year I get the form that tells me what documentation I need for application for tax relief, and the dates during which it is possible to apply for tax relief. And every year I forget the dates, can't understand the instructions, and/or find and gather the necessary documentation for tax relief. I blame bipolar disorder and the drugs I take for it for this befuddlement regarding the whole mess. But this year by god, I'm going to find a way to get what I qualify for and desperately need. And this year for the first time you could actually apply for tax relief at the same time you pay your taxes, or in my case partially pay my taxes.

Utah State employees have gone on a four day work week. This is groovy for so many reasons, but hard to remember when you put off until the last possible moment doing something that must be done by the end of the month. In years past that would have been Friday. But Friday was the fifth day of the week, so no state employees working to take your property taxes.

So Monday, we, the desperate and harried taxpayers, head for tax offices, grim faced and desperate looking, every one of us. There was a lot of grumbling about the overvaluation of property in a time of deflating actual value. We are all squeezed and it shows. And there are long, slow moving lines. And it's a work day for almost everybody in line. Then there is the line for those of us seeking a reduction in property taxes because we're old and/or ill and living on fixed incomes, which lose a little buying power every month.

But like a Thanksgiving miracle, this year they were actually taking requests for tax relief. But this was the last day, and they closed at five. It was 2:15. By the time I got home it was 2:45. I opened the drawer of my file cabinet that holds the sort of documentation and nearly weep at the stuffed file folders. I grab the one supposedly containing bank statements and instead of the hour or so I imagined it would take me, the second batch of statements contained the one statement I needed. I had to write a "hardship letter." That was easy. And so I raced back to the Tax Office with my papers, planning to fill out their lengthy form while waiting for the next available grief counselor. It was 4:00. There was no line. I signed in and was immediately taken back to a very sweet woman's desk. I say she was sweet because she actually did all the filling out of the form for me. All I had to do was sign it. Done. Now I wait for the ruling. But I'm fairly certain I will qualify for tax relief.

And the best part of all of this was that I asked her how she felt about the presidential election. I know, it's not exactly the smartest thing to do, but have I ever claimed to be particularly smart? Turns out she was a Hillary supporter, who did indeed vote for Barack. I started crying. It is only kindness, generosity and warmth that can reduce me to tears.

Now I'm actually tackling the task of cleaning out my file cabinet. I am giving the paper shredder a real work out. And the one file I'm happiest to shred is the one containing all of my mother's medical records and bank statements. We''re talking about fifty pounds of paper.

9 comments:

Nan said...

Glad you made the deadline.

Utah Savage said...

Me too. And the best thing was the political small talk. Not that I don't need the tax relief, but I keep finding moments of this other sort of relief. We are happy we have a black president!

an average patriot said...

Great Utah I wait to hear good news! With 41 out of 50 States with their hands out for a piece of thee bail out it behooves them to help people like you who need and deserve it. Good Luck!

FranIAm said...

I feel your pain. Property taxes, file cabinets, paperwork and such things - it makes my head reel and my stomach too.

You got there in time and I send you my every good thought and wish!

Utah Savage said...

Fran, thanks dear. You can't imagine who relieved I was to find out that I wasn't the commenter that stepped in it at your place. I'd so hate to think I hurt your feelings.

Randal Graves said...

And the icing, just think how enjoyable all that shredding is going to be.

Kulkuri said...

Hope you get your tax relief.
You can use the shredded paper as mulch in your garden.

Comrade Kevin said...

I hope Obama's presidency benefits all of us who are stretched thin this year.

linda said...

so happy you got some relief!