At the end of February, 2015, the city of Newton mailed excise tax bills for our cars. About a week later, my dad died in Florida. I left town for two weeks, and after I got back it was another week before I could bring myself to deal with the pile of backlogged mail on my desk. When I did, I found that I was almost two weeks overdue on the excise tax bills. So I got online and paid them immediately, along with the three or four dollars of interest that had accrued because of the late payment. I got an email from the City confirming receipt of payment in full of everything that was due; I printed it, filed it, and promptly forgot about it.
Until three months later, when a warrant arrived, demanding payment of these same excise taxes, along with a whole host of fees and penalties. I called the City, and they said that the warrant had been sent in error; my account was current, and I should just ignore it. So I did.
Three months later a second bill arrived, also disavowed by the City. When the third warrant arrived I arranged a conference call between the warrant officers and the City of Newton Treasury staff person, in which everyone on the line agreed that the continued warrants were in error and that they would clear them from the system. That was in January of this year. I haven't thought about the incident since.
Until Friday, when a notice arrived from the Massachusetts Registry of Vehicles, saying that they would not be renewing my car registration because......of unpaid excise taxes to the city of Newton.
Now, as anyone who has visited this website knows, I have long been in the habit of dealing with life's vicissitudes by capturing them in song. This little bureaucratic morass, I think, deserves not just a song, but a music video all its own. So midlifemomsongs is proud to present:
The Ballad of the Excise Tax Fiasco
Please forward it to your favorite bureaucrat.