Friday, November 22, 2019

Caught by the "IRS." The slow pace of Italian life has its pros and cons

The Italian IRS has caught up with me at last! And I have surrendered without a fight.

For those who have followed my story, in 2017 and 2018, I had received letters from the Agenzia delle Entrate claiming I owe taxes on a car and phone that had been used by an unknown person who had fraudulently claimed to be me in 2014 (see A high stakes challenge I must fight). I had filed a denuncia with the Carabiniere in Altopascio and gone to the AE several times trying to explain that I was not even in Italy during the months that these events occurred, but no one wanted to listen to my story. As far as I know, they still think I owe money, so I wondered if I would receive any more letters this year.

A few days ago, the postman rang our bell and had me sign for a registered letter—from the Comune di Montecarlo, claiming that I owed 89 euro to the Agenzia delle Entrate. But this time there was no mention of car and phone taxes. As best as I could make out, they wanted me to pay back property taxes on our house for November and December of 2015.

We had gone to an accountant every year since we had made the home purchase to pay our taxes, but since we had made the purchase in late 2015, perhaps it was true that no taxes had been paid for those last two months. We assumed that the notaio would have done this as part of the purchase process, or our accountant when we paid taxes in 2016. Apparently not, and it certainly wouldn’t be worth the trouble to dispute this relatively small charge (the actual tax was only 59.01 euro, but the fines and interest added another 30 euro).

I immediately went to the Ufficio Postale and paid the bill, a very simple process because Montecarlo has its own tiny post office, and there was no line when I arrived.

So what has become of my other supposed fees and fines? Maybe the Carabiniere investigated my complaint, found the crook and reported this all to the AE, and my debt was immediately canceled. And, no doubt, they sent the report via flying pigs, and the tooth fairy made sure the AE took swift action.

More likely, I’ll get another letter next  year, or the year after, and perhaps I’ll even try again to explain my innocence. We’ll see. With the famed slowness of the Italian bureaucracy (four years have passed since my apparent failure to pay property taxes from 2015), I may be dead before they write again (I know, I know, it’s bad luck to say that, but I’m touching metal right now to cancel the misfortune).

As for a couple of other things I was anticipating learning about upon my arrival in Montecarlo this fall, I was grateful to find that the concrete asbestos vat is no longer in our attic (see Unfinished business).

Our kitchen sink drain, however, still flows into the roof gutter and empties into the field behind our house. However, my neighbor says that he knows how to connect it to the sewer, and if the plumber does not come back to do it, the neighbor can do it himself. And, after all, it’s only been two years since I paid for this. In Italian time, that’s apparently not long at all.

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