Three thousand nine hundred and some dollars .. I looked at my tax bill for my cottage and almost choked on the piece of toast I was eating. I then dug out my taxes for the year before.. which was no mean feat if you happen to know my filing practices.
I knew it was in a box somewhere .. I never throw away anything , no, I am not a hoarder but maybe a distant cousin to one. Ok.. I confess.. I am a paper hoarder, that notice is somewhere! I read the years on paper stuffed in boxes in layers, I need to find the right layer.. see.. I have a system!
I found the right box and the layer, and there it was 2013 bank statements and bills and various pieces of junk mail. Tucked in there was a notice from the Rural Municipality in which my cabin resides. Dam.. how did I miss that tax bill!
There it is, I had forgotten to pay taxes for my cabin the year before and now I have late charges too! But .. but.. why so high , I wonder. I subtract the unpaid taxes and the late charges and see that they have gone up from twelve hundred dollars to two thousand seven hundred!!!
This piece of paradise is certainly worth all that and more, how do you put a price on serenity? There has to be a mistake somewhere, having a facelift couldn’t be that costly or could it?
My cousin next door built a beautiful new cabin, so I asked him what his taxes were.. he said two thousand and seven hundred dollars, same as mine! Well it just so happens my cabin is 35 years old, with a facelift.
Now facelifts can be pretty costly and mine cost fifty thousand. As wonderful as it looks though it still has the same old bones and structure underneath. The wrinkles are gone but the creaks and groans are still in it.
My plumbing is shared with my sons cabin on the lot next to me. The natural gas pedestal is there but has never been hooked up because I don’t have a furnace and it is not winterized anyway.
My standing joke with my son is that we are still connected.. our water lines is the magical ‘umbilical cord’.. just go easy on the water though, because he pays to have the sewer pumped out.
I used to have two bedrooms but one is a bathroom now.. thank goodness. The outhouse is but a memory for me but still standing (with one of those big blue plastic barrels under it so it can be pumped out). I cannot fit a dresserr into my new smaller bedroom but no matter, I did want a nice big bathroom.
We do a lot of winter activities at the lake and the outhouse still gets used, water freezes in minus temps as do I. We use lake water for the showers and washing, but haul our drinking water from home.
This lake has been our second home for over forty years. My kids and my cousins kids have all gown up here and played and inter-acted ( a nice way of putting the proverbial disputes or fights that will tend to happen now and again) for all these years. We even have 5th and sixth cousins living and playing together!
Ok so where was I.. oh right .. the taxes! Now I am not a stupid person or at least I hope not.. but I don’t know how to read a tax notice assessment. Sure I get it in the mail and see I have 30 days to dispute it, but what’s to dispute if I don’t know what the heck the actual tax bill is?
The shock wears off and I get on the blower knowing that someone has made a big mistake somewhere on my assessment. Finding the right person and actually talking to him was quite a remarkable feat in itself.
We ‘chat’ about how he figured out my assessment and he mentions my basement, well if the boarded in crawl space under my cabin is considered a basement then my cabin must be the palace.
Turns out he is confusing my cabin with my cousins new cabin next door .. ahhhh. Problem solved .. or so I thought , not so.. according to the RM.. because I didn’t appeal my notice I am still liable for the full amount!
The assessor assured me he would make a note on my file and let the RM know. NOTE TO SELF get shit like that in writing !!!!!!! ALWAYS !!!!!!
So here I am another tax year, same notice and .. no notes on my file! I register and fill out an appeal ..new assessor comes and reassess the situation. My cousins cabin was transposed to my lot and there-in lies the problem.
New assessors figures come in at what they should be and life goes on and everything works out in the end.. problem fixed, right? Well not really.. seems I still have to pay for the original assessors mistake because I didn’t appeal it with-in the original 30 days of the assessment, last year! That is just ludicrous.
When did life get so complicated that I now have to write an appeal to the RM council for an employees (hired by them) mistake that cost me 1500.00 and should be over-turned ? I am serious and this is a true story of government idiocy!