Monday, August 29, 2016

slipping a mickey to the feds

My little tryst with the IRS may be at an end. For now.

If you read three little words, you know when I filed my income tax form in 2014, it contained two errors. The errors were mine.

Being johnny-on-the-spot, more than two years later, the speedy folks at IRS spotted the error. They may have been too busy auditing political organizations to have enough time for my paltry return. But they finally got around to it.

Last week, the feds notified me I had an additional $2,600 to cough up or -- I actually don't know what the "or" is, but I am certain it must be something medeival. The delinquency form (after informing me I had a very nice house; it would be a shame if something happened to it) said we could resolve this matter amicably if I would simply write a check, sign a mea culpa admitting everything was my fault including the last recession, and send it off to Fresno.

Meanwhile, the interest clock was ticking from 2014.

As much as I like the Mexican postal service, speed is not its outstanding quality. A couple years ago, I would have popped the envelope in the local post office box. Letters were taking about 10 days to two weeks to make their way north. No more. Now, it is more like two months.

Because money is involved here, I thought I could just transfer the amount electronically. But I could not find anything on the IRS web site. Jennifer Rose came to my rescue. That service is available: The instructions are a wee bit clunky (actually, incredibly confusing), but I received word today the IRS has my money.

That just left the form. I was going to count on the kindness of friends flying north. But no one is leaving soon. And the form needed to be on its way.

Felipe suggested DHL. I had thought of that, but my experience with the local DHL agents is that they will accept payment for next-day delivery, but the package will still be in their office a week later because the truck from Manzanillo has not yet shown up.

So, I cut out the middle man. I headed off to Manzanillo to leave it at the DHL warehouse.

Like most delivery service warehouses, it is in an industrial area filled with other -- well, warehouses. I knew where this one was because it is smack dab in the middle of Mexican Dashiell Hammett country.

Last summer I decided to do a little research on the seamier side of life in Mexico. Through some of my local sources, I met and interviewed a series of guys who claimed to sell drugs of all varieties, to be able to hire someone to bump off the party of your choice (for a nominal fee), to grease any political transaction, and to fence all things electronic with same day service.

I spent a decade as a criminal defense attorney and a like number of years as an Air Force prosecutor. A lot of what you hear on the street is simply guff and bluff -- to give the speaker unearned cred.

And that is what I suspected of these guys. Until one of my sources ended up as a corpse. He had earned his cred.

But I dropped the stories. For a number of reasons.

This blog is not a police blotter and I am not a wannabe Mike Hammer. It is not the type of tale my readers expect to see here.

I also decided it was not the wisest choice of topics to earn my journalist spurs. The fact that all of this happened about the same time I decided to stop publishing daily is an indication that last August was not a pleasant time around the house with no name.

What I did learn, though, was the location of the DHL office. It is at the navel of Manzanillo's crime network.

For $613 (Mx), approximately $32.88 (US), my form is on its way to Fresno -- and should be there tomorrow. It was worth the drive to Manzanillo to get it shipped, but I am not certain it was a wise financial investment. The interest that will accrue during a slower transit time would be far less.

The good news is it is all done. Until I receive my interest due notice.

I hope I can then simply use the site Jennifer so graciously provided.

Just in case anyone is thinking of asking -- No! I will not publish any of my stories about crime in Manzanillo.  I am already dealing with the American government's version of the mafia. I don't need to be talking with another brand.

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