My new position requires more interaction with various offices including those who have the privilege of collecting taxes on contracts. I went to the office to introduce myself to the chief of the department and see how the process of paying taxes works.
So we arrived at the tax office and I saw a complicated flow chart on the wall that explained the process. The first room we went in had four desks set around the room with someone behind each one reading over contracts and there were a few people standing in front of their desks who were talking on their cell phones. There were no computers on anyone’s desk but there were several large ledgers and one over-sized calculator that they passed around between them. To say it was a full room would be an understatement. We handed them the 3 copies of our contracts, then they wanted me to meet the chief of the office. I wanted to ask the chief why I needed to pay in cash instead of a check for the very large bill. After introductions I gave him my business card and asked about not accepting our checks and he told me it was because we originally wanted to pay on the 31st of the month and checks take 48 hours to clear, but they would be happy to take a check from us in the future. So we went to another room with a big vault door and two women sitting at their desks with papers piled high, we gave them the money and one of our smaller bills was questioned. We asked the chief if the bill was OK and he sent us back to the two ladies in the vault room because they have a machine to determine if the money is good. They weren’t going to take it, so the Cameroonian that had come with me to the tax office found a bill in his pocket that we were able to use.
This was our third visit to the tax office for this contract because we have been in a disagreement with them about the amount we need to pay. So we then went back to the first room to wait, there were two guys that came in and sold lunch to the ladies that were working and another guy came in to sell fabric. But they continued to read and review our contract. It was decided that we would need to come back tomorrow to pick up our legal and stamped contracts.
I still don’t have them though because it was decided that the original agreed upon amount was the wrong amount since this was not a personal contract and would need to pay a higher amount. I get to go again next week to discuss the late payment of a different contract that we didn’t have stamped correctly. They have already agreed to reduce 50% of the 100% penalty for being late but I’m hopeful I can get it down to even less.
So it has been an interesting first month in my new role as Director of Administration and Finance.
What was Jesus’ advice on taxes? “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.’ And they were amazed at him.” Mark 12:17