I was all raw from a visit to the dentist where they jabbed me with needles so they could yank my gums down so they could jam a string around the tooth that they'd just finished drilling for a half an hour. So that's where my head was at.
So I went to the tax office with my friend to see if I could get a "hallelujah" about the ongoing pain in the ass I'm having at work.
Now, I don't speak Korean very well at all. But even I could tell that what the 1st guy we talked to was a pile of mumbo jumbo. Nice attitude there, Shifty McBalding. Hows about looking either one of us in the face? The only good thing this guy did was confirm that I am not registered with the tax office. I'd like to say I was surprised, but I was not. I was a bit disappointed. What I had hoped to find out was that I was indeed registered, and that the appropriate taxes (28,950 won per month) had been paid. Then I could get all inquisitive with my boss as to where the other 71,500 won I've been paying every month has gone. (Toward cookies?!?!?! I THOUGHT so!!!) But alas....nothing has been paid in my name. The guy went on to say "Blah blah blah blabbity blah blah." It was the same to my English ear as it was to my Korean friend.
He ended up sending us to another office.
The guy at the "Tax Payers Advocate" Office was more suave and he had this to say: "Blabbity blah bee dibbly doo blah blah boobidy boppity boo la la la." That is a direct translation. Though this was the local branch of the NATIONAL TAX OFFICE, no one seemed to be able to give us a concise answer as to how much tax I should be paying. On their website it seems pretty straightforward. But the
"You should shut up and pay 5%."
"If you make between 40,000,000 and 80,000,000 a year, you pay 28%."
"If you make over 80,000,000 a year you pay 35% taxes."
"If I look at your face twice, you pay 9.4%."
"If we throw these rocks against the wall and they make a sound like "clunk" you pay 68% taxes, but if you can find in this room the secret fuzzy purple hammer that makes a "boing" sound, you pay the random number in my head."
Apparently there is no direct answer for "If I make 2,000,000 won per month, how much tax should I pay?" No one would produce a number. The clown at the Advocate's Office sent us up to the second floor. There were 6 doors to 6 varying departments on the second floor. I felt like I was on "Let's Make a Deal," except there was no good prizes befing any of the doors. Did the contestants on that show actually get to keep the donkeys behind the doors? I used to think - when I was a kid - that it'd be pretty damned cool to win a donkey!) Only for me, today, all the doors opened up to clowns well versed in the "Run-Around Speak."
Oh, what I would have given to be able to
Finally, the two most important things I learned was (1) that I am indeed paying too much tax. (But, I knew that already.) and (2) It looks like my boss may have submitted bulk taxes for the hogwan to the tune of 5%. Probably, this is grand total of the income tax for all employees because we're a small school. I KNOW the Korean teachers aren't paying tax. It seems I may be paying all the income tax for all the employees.
Tomorrow is another call to the Tax Hotline for Foreigners (who initially advised me to visit the Local Bureau of Clowns.) Next is another dreaded conversation with my boss.
This beat goes on and on.