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A Taxing Situation
by Eric Miller

Carl Campbell received a notice from the Tax Department stating that a review of his return indicated that he owed them an additional $350. Something didn't sound right to Carl, so he asked a friend to recommend an accountant.

"Got just the guy for you," his friend said. "My friend Bob just opened an office. He's a tax attorney and an accountant."

"He might think I'm small potatoes," Carl replied with concern.

"No, he's a regular guy, and he needs the business," his friend assured.

"May I call you Bob?, Carl asked, upon entering Bob's office, which was a small, dark, dingy hole in a wall."

"No, my name is Robert, pronounced in the French manner."

"Okay, Row-bare it is. Listen, I think the Tax Department is mistaken. I honestly believe that I do not owe them more money."

"Whether you do, or whether you don't, we'll fight them hard and win."

"Bob, I mean Row-bare, I'm not looking for a war here. It sounds like I'll end up owing you more for your services than I owe them."

"Nonsense, we're talking about fairness, justice and, most importantly, victory. It would be sinful to pay the government money to which it was not entitled."

"Row-bare, do I owe them the money or not?"

"We'll find out, soon enough."

"Well, don't you know, now?," Carl asked, perplexed.

"One can never be sure, "Robert stated, in a lawyerly sort of way."

"Maybe I should just pay it. How much do I owe you?"

"Relax, my good friend. Let me handle this," Robert stated with amazing confidence.

After several months, Robert, giddy with excitement, called Carl to tell him that the they had won, and that the Tax Department had apologized for its mistake.

Carl was not surprised to receive Robert's bill, although he found it ironic that he had to pay Robert $500 to save $350. But then he remembered Robert passionately stating those words he had told him before: "Nonsense, we're talking about fairness, justice, and most importantly, victory. It would be sinful to pay the government money to which it was not entitled."

Several years later, and no longer living near Robert's office, Carl received a letter from the Tax Department, for which he called Robert for advice.

"Hi Bob, I mean Row-bare, the Tax Department wants me, or my representative, to meet  with them for an audit in their offices up here. Can you handle this from down there?"

"Absolutely, mon ami, just write to them and request that they transfer your records from their office up there to their office down here, where I can represent and handle everything for you."

"Will that be a problem?"

"No, it's very common," Robert said.

"Anything to worry about?"

"Probably not. Usually in the transfer of records to another office, everything gets lost, and we never hear about it again."

He was right and, not surprisingly, his bill for the transfer advice was higher than the amount in question for the audit.

"Vive la France," Carl thought.