28 November 2022

This, regrettably, happened to me (happy ending)

I was mildly irritated when I got the annual (property) tax bill from Fulton county. Not because you would expect any irrational exuberance from me upon sighting a tax bill but because I did not owe Fulton county anything. It was not even my property any more.

You see, we sold our house in July. And part of the sales proceedings is that the lawyers withhold prorated property tax from the buyer and the seller and pay the authorities. So, for that year, nobody has to pay any more taxes. From next year, the owner pays directly.

So, I was irritated that Fulton county systems had not caught up yet. Called up our broker who checked with the lawyers and confirmed that I did not need to do anything. I also notified the new owners of the same.

But bureaucracies are bureaucracies. Just because I did not owe anything does not mean that the government authorities will see eye to eye. I realized I would have to “go thru the process” to get everything squared away.

The good news is that the Fulton County website has a fairly well documented section on how to protest. So, duly protested with a photocopy of the bill and proof of sale to them.

Did not hear anything for about 6 weeks.

Then I got an email with a link to my property tax bill!

To make sure that this was not about my current house, I followed the link, went to the bill and sure enough – just as I had feared, it was about the house I do not own any more.

Next Monday, first thing in the morning, I called up the Tax office. A chirpy sounding lady picked up the phone. This incredible conversation happened after I explained my situation to her…

“Okay, let’s see what is going on. What is your address?”
I gave the same.
“Who am I talking to?”
I gave the name.
“You own this house or you sold it?”
“Sold it, ma’m”
“Ok. Yes, I can see the property record. It was sold on July 7th.”
“Yes, ma’m”
“Let’s see what is going on with your bill… ”

And then after a few seconds, she came back…

“I have your bill in front of me. You said, you received this bill by email?”
“Yes, ma’m.”
“You opened it and checked the details?”
“Yes, ma’m. It is the house I sold.”
“Did you check the amount?”
“Check the amount…?” I stammered a little…and quickly pressed Page Down twice on my screen to go to the bottom of the bill.

There it was staring at me – a big fat “$0.00” !!!

“Oh!” I exclaimed on the phone. “Why did you send me a bill if I did not owe you anything?”

“You had protested. That was our way of letting you know that we have adjusted your new bill to zero. You have proof now you owed nothing.”

“Oh! Thank you!”

Both of us laughed a bit – me far more sheepishly than her!

Needed a strong coffee after that!!

Posted November 28, 2022 by Rajib Roy in category "Humor

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