Paying the Price
Let’s say you’ve had a bad day at work.
Perhaps the boss fired you for a simple mistake—or, even worse, for someone else’s. Then some jackass cut you off on the way home. You spilled coffee all over your pants, burning your beanbag and putting intimacy out of the question for the next six months.
Picture yourself arriving home, only to find that your pad’s been broken into. Maybe your checkbook and credit cards have been stolen. Or, even worse, some sick bastard commandeered your iPod, deleted your kick-ass music collection, and replaced it with Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, and John Denver and the Muppets.
Take all this, and more … and it’s STILL not as taxing a day as Dennis Charnetzky recently had.
The Valparaiso, Indiana man sat down to open the mail, thinking he might get the usual bill or two, postcards with pictures of missing children, and 192 unsolicited applications for Capital One credit cards.
Instead, he got a property tax bill, and it was up from last year. Just a bit. From $1500 to—get this—$8 million. That’s a lot of triple grande soy light-whip 140-degree toffee nut lattes.
For minute this guy must have thought he was not in Indiana, but in Taxachusetts.
Most homeowners would be pleased to discover that their house value has gone up. In fact, in many areas of the country, real estate has been a solid investment for most of the past decade, earning 20% or more per year. But this was ridiculous; his assessment rose from around $122,000 to $400 million. And he hadn’t even installed new marble kitchen countertops.
Local officials say an outside user probably slipped into the county’s computer system and inadvertently changed the house value. Recalculated tax rates reflected the error, so now the county’s schools and public services face severe budget shortfalls due to less-than-expected revenue.
That’s quite a tax-ident.
Just imagine getting an $8 million government bill … and then being told that you have to cough up some extra dough to ensure your garbage gets picked up. Where do you come up with that kind of money?
If I were him, I would have asked for a loan from my fellow Indiana native, Guns ‘N Roses frontman Taxl Rose. Or taken a second job.
As a taxidermist.