May in Taiwan means only one thing – TAX!
Everyone is rushing around trying to get their tax returns done for the previous year, ah it’s such fun! Of course it’s possible to file online ~ but that’s so boring (and complicated), so off we all go to the Tax Office! Past the parked fire-engines and ambulances and flyover and through the pouring rain…..
This time last year my annual visit to the Taipei City Tax Office coincided exactly with Taipei’s annual Air-Raid Drill, so the sirens sounded just as I walked in the door, the doors closed behind me, the lights were all turned off, the shutters on all the counters closed, and we sat in the dark for 30 minutes while the streets were cleared of traffic and the drill took place…
Fast forward to this year and I arrived late in the afternoon yesterday at the Foreign Taxpayers Section….
Unlike Biblical images of tax collectors like Zaccheus (middle-aged, portly, wealthy and hated by everyone!) Taipei’s Tax Office is staffed for the month of May by young, smiling and very enthusiastic students who are very well-trained in how to help people like me fill in their tax forms.
In fact armed with only a calculator and a pen, they click and write, and within a few minutes it’s all done. And tax for foreigners is not easy. Mine took 2 students to calculate everything, but the 2 students were just lovely….
In fact they even carried on calculating while I took photos, and posed together beautifully at the end……
The salt of the earth in the Tax Office no less!