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  • A wonderful day at the revenue office today trying to close my accounting books.

    Went there as early as I possibly could in order to finish equally fast.
    Went in with a frown, wearing no make up, my hair in disarray and looking the exact opposite of beautiful (my granny said you should look your best when you go to a civil service, so much for her advice).

    I waited for about an hour and then the man who was handling my case called me to let me know that a zillion things were wrong with my account books and that he couldn't help me after all. He handed me the books and left me staring at him. "Please, what can I do?" I asked. "Contact your former accountant and be very careful who your next accountant is going to be". "And what if I cannot get in touch with him?" I asked, knowing as I did that the poor man had become my former accountant because his daughter had died and he suffered from severe depression. "Just contact him and have him help you". "And what if I caaaaan't?" I insisted. "I just told you what to do!" was the employee's reply.

    So I took my books and sat at a chair, and tried not to cry. I stayed there, for the next hour or so. He could see me every time he looked up from his desk. I chatted to other people, played with a little baby while his mother was trying to get her late father's in-law taxes sorted. He sighed and called me back.
    "Give me your books again", he said. "God, you're patient! I'll help you, all right? But, just so you know, if you're audited in the future you'll be in big trouble, ".

    And then disaster struck. The government owed me money. 27,99 euros in fact. That cannot be. In Greece you may owe the government money (very possible) BUT the government never pays back a dime (anymore). He didn't know what to do. "Just forget about it" I suggested. "I don't want the money. The country is in trouble so I'll chip in with my 27,99". He was so upset he didn't even listen to me. "We can't owe you money if you're closing the books. Get in the online system, change the sum from 27,99 to 0 and come back. Sort this out and then come back, is that clear?".

    So I called my accountant, asked him to help me and sat at same chair for another hour.
    "Have you sorted it out?", the employee asked at some point. "Let's find out", I smiled at him. He went online and immediately said "NOOOO, you haven't done a thing! It looks as if we still owe you money. Ok, ok let's not panic. Get me proof you've changed the numbers and that we no longer owe you anything, and don't come back unitl you have it!".
    So I called my accountant again, I asked him to fax me the info, got the fax and went back to my chair.
    "What are you still doing here?" "I've got proof". "Bring it to me, and the books and .. just give me everything, will you!".

    By that time I'd been in and out the Revenue offices for about 5 hours. I was the only one in front of that employee's office, the only person on the floor in fact that didn't work for the revenue office.
    When the employee looked at me again he smiled for the first time. "We're done", he said. "Wasn't that simple?"

    I smiled back. "Thank you!" I said and reached for my papers and my book. But he just put them away.
    "Now, come back on Monday, so we can close your books", he said.
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