It's the beginning of the year, the time when I sort out taxes, make a plan about what and when to pay. Taxes must be paid and in some cases paying early can have some benefits. It may not be much but I'm always using this option as why pay more if I have a possibility not to, right?
Property tax is first on the list as there's a 10% discount if you pay till the end of the first quarter. Property taxes have been pretty much the same for the past few years, the rise has been insignificant, so kind of had an idea how much I owe taxman. Imagine my surprise when I saw four times the amount I had in mind. Needless to say properties don't worth four times more this year, so the problem lays elsewhere.
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
After looking at the detailed list, the problem was obvious. The payable amount this year consists in two parts, 30% property tax and 70% sanitation tax (trash collection in other words). Up until last year the sanitation tax we owed the administration has been like 10% of the property tax value and there was another tax paid to the district administration. After some investigations I found out what's happened and it's not a funny story, trust me.
Last year we had local elections, got a new mayor and obviously council members were changed as well, based on citizens' vote. After the new administration settled in came the news about the irregularities they found. As a consequence, all payments were suspended and an independent company was hired to audit the administration. Turned out the city owes utility companies around 10m euros. This is a huge amount that should have never happened. The old administration knew they have little or no chance to be reelected and made sure to spend every penny and make a huge dept, directing public funds in certain pockets. There were discovered other, extremely serious problems that fall under criminal law but I don't want to go into details as that's besides the point.
Paying that kind of dept will be extremely hard and will stop every future development for awhile. What is even worse is regarding every citizen. Last year the utility company (public cleaning) the administration had a contract with went bankrupt midyear. The new utility company selected
had no contract with the administration and was paid out of the local budget, illegally.
Up until last year collecting these utility taxes from citizens and companies was the task of district administrations, which then transferred the amounts collected, to the local administration. Turns out these taxes were not transferred to the local administration as there was no contract based on which to do so. Now comes the question, where is the money?
Back to my tax story, turns out we need to send in a signed affidavit about how many people are living on the property, based on which the final amount of tax will be calculated. The default amount showed today on the online platform is based on 3 people as, according to the administration represents the average number of people living in one household. In case you fail to send in the affidavit, you'll be charged for three people as default.
This is a huge mess and don't know how it's going to end. I understand they have changed the payment system, cutting out the middleman (district administrations) but there's no way anyone can check how much we paid. I'm not going to pay the taxes just as yet, I'm waiting to see what's going to happen and if we can get some clarity in this regard. Citizens are angry.
Milking public funds has always been the main focus of many. Cities, even the whole country would have been in a better position if funds should have been used correctly. Hope dies last, right?
Oh, I forgot to tell you, I wouldn't mind paying twice more for garbage collection if I would know selective waste collection is working properly but there's no guarantee for that.
It's time for a new era, it's time for some transparency and respect towards citizens.
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