Singapore Adventure

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Tax Error In Your Favor: Collect $13800
by venitha

Just in time for a mammoth Christmas shopping binge, my final paycheck from Agilent, for two weeks of half-time work, was US$8800. It was followed shortly by an unexpected final final paycheck for US$5000. At this rate, not working for Agilent was an excellent financial move. No, I did not finally come to my senses and quit; my group was part of a recent spin-off, and is now called Avago Technologies. A vaaaaaah' go.

A quick survey of the four, count them four, accountants provided for Jim's and my tax consulting pleasure (one from each of our employers from each side of the world) reveals that there has been just a slight tax error. They know all about it, and I do, of course, have to give the money back. Immediately, if not sooner, though these same words cannot be used to describe when exactly they were going to bother to let me know about this.

Returning my newfound riches is a bit more complicated than it might seem:
  • I no longer work for the offending company, so garnishing my future wages is not an option, even were my salary so exorbitant.
  • The money was direct-deposited into my one account in the US that I cannot transfer funds out of and cannot automatically issue a check from. How convenient.
  • The end of 2005 is fast approaching, and, as I am not on GW's Christmas, er, holiday card list, Uncle Sam is likely to be less than understanding about this little shortfall in my withholding.
This brush with seeming embezzlement is not improving my opinion of our tax situation here, and it was fairly bleak to begin with. Long, tedious conference calls in the US were followed up with long, tedious in-person meetings in Singapore. It all left me and Jim with unsurprisingly similar thoughts:
  • We want to kill ourselves.
  • Our jobs are not so bad, in spite of the facts that our offices are not atop posh downtown highrises and are not serviced by elevators with beautiful white-gloved assistants who push the buttons.
  • We are completely at the mercy of these people if they want to rob us blind or rob the government, either one, blind and pin it on us.