Tax Bureau’s Seniors
The tax bureau was situated in the centre of the imperial palace’s government offices, which was situated to the palace’s right. The tax bureau, a department Lin Dongqing personally established, became the most important department in the imperial capital. The reason for their importance was their competence and authority to scrutinise every single person regardless of identity or status.
To ensure that there wouldn’t be any tax collection problems, instead of paying it to the various government departments to submit it to the tax bureau, taxes were paid directly to tax officers. Innumerable loyal and outstanding tax officers split the empire into sections and calculated how much how much each household was expected to pay before reporting what was collected. In summary, that was the job of a tax officer. Their assistant was tasked with following them, helping with calculations and keeping track. While it sounded simple on paper, it was actually a complicated job.
Standing at the front of the tax bureau’s glass door that reflected the golden sunlight, Irena took in a deep breath. Usually, she wasn’t allowed to be flustered or nervous when following her most trusted Lin Dongqing on dangerous missions for he labelled those emotions taboo. She was rarely nervous after going on so many jobs with him, yet she kept adjusting her collar in front of the bureau despite having always wanted to work for the tax bureau. Everybody will be nervous when what they want most is in front of them.
Irena’s pure-black work shirt highlighted her hourglass figure, giving her a more mature vibe. She only felt she was a mature woman instead of the young girl behind Lin Dongqing when she wore on her uniform.
Notwithstanding having heard that the tax bureau’s office was aesthetic, the golden hall that welcomed her still blew her mind. As a new member, she was quite scared since the building was stately and everyone going back and forth were elites with “I am this nation’s elite” written on their faces; the thought of leaving even popped into her mind for a moment.
“Irena, right?” The girl with blond hair had pointy cat ears that looked pretty and cute. Nonetheless, that didn’t help her look cuter as she her attitude was stern. Her serious demeanour, driven and proficiency demonstrated how exceptional she was at her job.
Without waiting for Irena to respond, she explained, “I am Sulina Albert, your senior. I know you are Her Highness and Lord Lin’s dear pupil. Regardless, I need to let you know that, while you are working here, you must follow the tax bureau’s orders and commands because the bureau won’t accept any other government department’s control. We work directly for Her Majesty. Therefore, you must drop any habits you may or may not have as a Princess while here. As per Lord Lin’s directions, Owen, your senior, will be in charge of you during your work experience period. By the way, perhaps it’s your privilege as a Princess, but you will have your own assistant while you are still a rookie.”
“Ah…” Irena spaced out. On one hand, Sulina spoke too quickly. On the other hand, her senior’s pressure strained her.
Sulina patted Irena on the shoulder and then headed inside. Irena spaced out as she looked at Sulina’s tail. She quickly realised she was rude, however, and caught up to Sulina.
“Now, to give you a brief overview of the tax bureau’s work, it ent-“
“I know. We go to those who haven’t been able to pay their taxes, investigate their reasons, and then make a quarterly report!”
“Mm, you’ve got the tip of the iceberg. You need to keep in mind that, though the things Lord Lin set are relatively complete, he was too nice, which allowed lots of people to find excuses to not pay their taxes. A tax officer’s most important job is…” Sulina turned around after jogging to the corner of the stairs.
“I know. It’s to ensure that those people have no reason to not pay their taxes!”
“No,” replied Sulina, with a frown. “It appears that you didn’t read Lord Lin Dongqing’s tax principles’ foreword. His last sentence is the motto for tax officers. Our goal is not to force people to pay taxes; it’s to allow everyone to feel Her Majesty respects and cares about them. Our job isn’t to force anybody to pay taxes; it’s to distinguish between whether or not they are deliberately avoiding taxes. The numbers should not be our primary concern. We should be focused on their reasons.”
“Reasons…” repeated Irena, zoning out.
Sulina smiled: “That is our Lord Lin Dongqing’s odd kindness. Although he appears to lack any semblance of a conscience, it’s his bizarre kindness that earns him people’s respect.”
“I see…” Irena froze for a brief moment before heading up to the second floor with Irena.
The second floor was different to the rather empty main hall on the first floor. The second floor was glutted and blazing hot. There were right angled tables set up neatly as you would find in a classroom, except there were so many of them that it could compare to honeycomb. Tax officers and their assistants were hard at work on their desks that they joined together. They probably used half of the empire’s paper expenditure. The smell of ink and energy drinks lingered in the air. Irena fearfully surveyed everyone, discovering they didn’t look as smug as the promotions made them out to be.
“This is our workplace. This is your work desk.”
After squeezing through the maze-like office, Irena arrived at her work desk located next to the window. It was the only neat desk in the messy office. On her desk was a dew flower.
“Everyone is jealous over how much Lord Lin cares for you,” said Sulina. “Come and meet your partner. He’s also new. If either of you make any stupid mistakes, you’ll be stuck together. Let me preface that he’s unlike you; he doesn’t seem to want to be here. I don’t think he passed the exam to get in. To be frank, I think it’s going to be relatively tough to get along with him.”
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