I have been known to make mistakes on my taxes. The feds and the state send me corrections to my taxes, usually in their favor. They show me where I made my errors, much like a school teacher.
So, this year, I was pleased when the city of Philadelphia put up a self-calculating tax form. All I had to do was copy numbers from my schedule C – total income and total profit. The form calculated the rest. I paid the city what it said I owed. I thought I was done.
Yesterday, I got a letter. Underpayment $29. Plus late fee and penalty. Pay $32.87 by November 11, or the bill will go up.
No explanation. No copy of my tax forms with corrections. Just a bill.
And since they calculated the tax in the first place, it seems to me that if there is an error, they made it. Yes, I did double check their math and I did calculate the same tax. It is unlikely that they and I would make the same mistake, if there is one. So, I doubt there was an error. I suspect that the city wants more money and they know if they send every small business in the city a bill for a small enough amount that we’ll all pay it and not try to fight them.
I feel dishonest paying that bill. I’ve become part of the problem – I no longer fight for my ideals if they cost $32.87.