Tax Officer’s Duty
It wasn’t time for the household to pay their third quarter’s taxes yet. Hence, they didn’t need to confiscate anything. Although the road to where they were was rather long-winded and consisted of copping a scolding, Irena received the money in the end, settling the issue.
“All is well now, right? I told you the granny must’ve forgotten. It’s perfectly normal since the elderly don’t have the best memory.” Lin Dongqing wanted to throw the money in Sulina’s face for being so, ‘Oh, you this and that,’ when it only took some communication to resolve it.
“She’s a senior, yet she doesn’t care for her junior. If a tax officer knew everything right off the line, would there be any need for you to be a senior?! We resolved it now. I’d like to see what you have to say! We always get the job down!” Lin Chucheng exclaimed in his mind.
Irena ignored Lin Chucheng, focusing her gaze on a corner of the envelope. She remembered that the upside-down triangle symbol belonged to an organisation that operated a pyramid scheme – illustrating incredible prospects to convince people to invest, while people at the top of the pyramid used the system to maintain the entire system.
When Lin Dongqing was on his travels, the organisation enjoyed unprecedented growth. They did so well that the leader of the operation was granted an audience with Queen Sisi. Unfortunately for them, Lin Dongqing either had them hung if not imprisoned for life once he returned. That was when the people who were crazy about it saw the true nature of the get-rich dream.
Business laws and regulations underwent changes again after the case. Financial crime’s most severe punishment became execution by hanging. Needless to say, the organisation was instantly run into the ground.
Irena didn’t expect to see their symbol on an envelope again. The organisation hadn’t been totally eliminated yet. Many of them turned to other avenues, and the avenue those who hadn’t changed their ways turned to was none other than the one despised most: usury.
“Something’s not right. Why is the granny connected to the organisation?” Irena headed back to the door without waiting for Lin Chucheng and anxiously knock.
The granny asked. “Umm, umm, is there something wrong with the money?”
“Yes, there is,” replied Irena. She took in a deep breath and held the envelope out to the granny: “I am very sorry, but we cannot accept this money.”
“Why?!” simultaneously exclaimed both Lin Chucheng and the granny
Lin Chucheng was surprised as Irena picked up every coin on their last job, yet took the initiative to give back money this time. Could it be fake money, thought Lin Chucheng.
“Because this is money you loaned, correct?” questioned Irena.
Irena’s gaze on the granny was absolutely firm because she once witnessed Lin Dongqing supposedly release goods to bring a tribe under his banner. She saw Lin Dongqing take their children while their parents couldn’t do anything but suffer. If Lin Dongqing took from them by force, then they could’ve righteously fought back, but he never resorted to violence. He even built friendships with some of them. Irena was always by Lin Dongqing’s side, consequently learning how frightening usury could be.
The granny didn’t appear to be the type to fight back or sue people. Moreover, how hopeless would she be without children? Irena refused to destroy their family. She realised a very important fact after her last job: tax officers didn’t heartlessly take from people. They were people who could bring others happiness. Tax officers need to look into people’s reasons, not focus on the money.
“Wh-wh-what does that have to do with you? Aren’t you a tax officer? I’ve paid my taxes. The rest has nothing to do with you!”
The granny panicked as she tried to shut the door, but Irena stuck her foot in the way again. Irena genuinely thought she might be related to Lin Dongqing since she was always hurting her foot of all places, even having a premonition that she might end up relying on a cane to stand.
Irena forced open the door: “We cannot accept this money. I can, but how will you repay the loan with such a high interest? Why would you give your savings to loan sharks instead of paying taxes? Your family may have difficulties; however, your taxes will always be less than your loan! Please tell me what the problem is. I promise to help you!”
“I’m fine! It’s none of your business! You have the money, so leave now! Keep this up, and I will report you to the police!”
“You should have the police arrest them, not us!” vociferated Irena. “Please let me help you! Please tell me your problem whatever it is that is preventing you from paying your taxes! We will help you!”
“Hurry and leave! I’m honestly fine. How I pay my taxes is my business, not yours! Now leave!”
The granny looked as if she was on the verge of tears. Despite Irena’s good will, it was interpreted as torment. The granny’s husband was on his way back. If he saw tax officers at home, he’d immediately catch on to what happened. The family didn’t have spare money; they couldn’t pay their taxes. She couldn’t sell her husband’s lifetime of labour because she loved him.
Lin Chucheng found himself stuck in a whirlpool of emotions. Both sides had sound reason to him, so he didn’t know who to support.
Irena was adamant on forcing the young girl to pay last time, yet was adamant on asking the granny to take back her money. Irena cherished her work wholeheartedly as well as her duty as a tax officer. With that said, she couldn’t bring herself to drive an innocent family to bankruptcy for her own sake. A tax officer’s job was to bring others happiness. It always had been, still is and always will be.
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