I love to shop on eBay. Bargains abound there and on my income, I save pennies wherever I can. There's a strategy to being a good eBayer and I think I have it down pat so I haven't dealt with any huge disasters . . . yet.
A couple years ago the State of Ohio instituted a tax for those of us who shop online called the Ohio User Tax which I think should be renamed the Used and Abused Ohioans Tax. At tax time we are asked to report how much we spent online and pay Ohio sales tax on it. If most people are like me, they just guesstimate it. Frankly, I've learned that most people simply ignore it and leave that part of their Ohio tax return blank. It's really an idiotic -- and probably illegal -- tax because what it does is tax people who use the Internet.
I, however, am honest (and, I'm told, stupid) and give a ballpark figure on what I spend online. This year I sent them a check for twenty-four dollars before April 15th. Last week I received a letter from the Ohio Department of Taxation telling me that I owed them $24.00. I went ballistic because I keep a close eye on my accounts and knew the check had cleared. I logged into my account and double-checked to be sure. My bank's website has a feature where you click on a check number and it shows you a copy of the check on both sides so I know that my check was deposited by the State of Ohio. I then called the toll-free number in the letter and proceeded to raise hell with the bureaucrat who answered. I explained my problem and and she asked me to give her numbers from the back of the check. Anyone who has ever looked at the stamp on the back of the check knows that those numbers are difficult to see. She checked and couldn't find any record of my check in their system and told me that I need to go to my bank and send a copy of the check to them. I went ballistic.
"You people are so irresponsible that you fail to record my payment despite depositing it and you expect me to run around to prove that I made it? Do you realize what gas costs?" She said yes. I hung up in frustration stifling the urge to share some not very nice words with her.
I then called both my state representative and my state senator and left messages and neither returned my calls. The latter is busy running for Congress and has never returned a phone call to a constituent that I know of according to a poll of my friends. The former is busy impeaching our over-aged frat boy state Attorney General. Neither will ever get my vote.
I've thought about this and have decided what I'm going to do. I'm going to go get the copy of the check and send it and issue the State of Ohio an itemized bill for my expenses and inconvenience and mental anguish. If it isn't paid in 30 days, I'm going to file in Small Claims Court. Judges hate taxes, too, and might just rule in my favor. If nothing else, it might showcase the incompetency in Columbus and its casual attitude toward our money.
And oh yeah, next year I'm gonna lie like everyone else and ignore the damned tax.