I figured it'd be a good idea to have a thread where we post stories that make us cry in three minutes just to help put things into perspective. I'll start with this one: In New Zealand, the IRD can bust into your business, into your dairy, into your plumbing shop, into your farm, they can bust into it, any hour of the day and they don’t need a warrant. The Police can’t do that. The Police might be chasing Son of Sam and they’ve got to get a warrant. They might be chasing the worst rapist in history and they’ve got to get a warrant, and they are trained. But these IRD officers with very little training, who are up against, you know, really scary people like plumbers and paperhangers, people that work for a living. They have powers to enter your business at the drop of a hat and do a search. Your Parliament gave that department those powers. They have powers to require you to answer every question that they put to you. If you are scumbag murderer or rapist, you can say, “I’m not answering that question”, but if you are a dairy owner you had better, and it’s the IRD you have to, because if you don’t they can hit you with a fine for $25,000. Are we starting to talk like our values are upside down. That we have rights to protect the criminal class but the productive class, the working class, the people that create all the wealth have no rights when confronted with the tax department after its pound of flesh and pint of blood. They have the ability to assert that you owe a debt and it is your job to prove that you don’t. Nowhere else in our legal processes do we have that. We believe that we have a free society, a capitalist society, a democracy where you’re innocent until you are proven guilty. That’s true if you’re a murderer, that’s true if you’re a rapist, that’s true if you’re a burglar, that’s true if you’re a thug, but if you’re a taxpayer, it’s not true. You are guilty until you prove that you are innocent. So the department can allege a million-dollar debt and you have to prove that you don’t owe it. How can you prove that you don’t owe it, when you don’t even know what it’s about? And they’re not required by law to tell you what it’s about. They can just assert it. Not only can they assert a debt against you, but even before it goes to Court you have to cough up half. Can you imagine that? You’re paying for your lawyers, you’re paying for your accountants, you’ve got this big debt, you have to pay half even before your case is heard. This is an outrage. And these tax laws are having a huge consequence. There are two problems with tax. It’s too much, and the laws are too vicious. There is a guy in New Zealand, he lived on the Kapiti coast. Ian Lee Mutton was his name. He was a good guy. Father, husband, two little kiddies, and he was a good sportsman, and he worked and he liked a wee drink and having fun. And his business was, and he worked hard at it, was putting in air conditioning units in new office towers. And he had a dream, he dreamt that rather than working for other people he could go out into business on his own. And he did that. And he was good at the work, but he was a lousy businessman. He quoted too low, some of his people didn’t pay, and the costs got out of control. But he persevered and he learnt. He got to the end of one year 1992, and he owed $6,000 terminal tax. No big deal, knew he owed it, was going to pay it. He then had an accident off a ladder at work and broke his ankle and couldn’t work. He had been assessed for this tax, and the demands kept coming. His ACC, such as it is for self-employed didn’t come, even though he had been paying it all these years. So he and his family were suffering no end. Here he was hobbling around on crutches. He went repeatedly to the IRD with his wife saying, “Look, I can’t pay this”. They wouldn’t listen to him. He had to pay, they’re the rules. He says, “I’m not working”, doesn’t matter. He gets back to work, someone smashes his utility up and he has to spend more money so he can keep working. He pays his tax that year, he pays his tax the next year, he pays in his next year more tax than he has ever paid in his life as a percentage. And he gets to the end of that year, and he owes more than he did at the start. Because the penalties and the interest are just overwhelming him. His accountant and his business manager go in to see the IRD begging them to give this guy some relief. He’s working hard, here’s all his accounts, give him some relief. They wouldn’t. His marriage split up, his wife couldn’t take the pressure. He was behaving strangely, the pressure was huge on him. That bills were just being generated by that horrible computer that the IRD has and they would be arriving at his house in envelopes and in the finish, he couldn’t even open them, he just threw them in the bin. In his final year, he went on booze a bit. He didn’t pay any tax, so it mounted, and the debt got to $45,000. He then snapped out of it, he stopped the drinking, he got back with his wife, he realised that he had to make his business go bankrupt, stop his dreams, stop his aspirations. And he got a job working in Queenstown, putting in air conditioning units working for someone else. All he had in the world at that point was a utility worth $5,000 and $1,100 worth of tools. On the day that he was to leave to Queenstown to take up his new job, the IRD turned up. They wanted the ute, and the tools, to offset the debt. They were going to take the very means that he had to make a living. He drove the utility up to the Otaki Gorge and killed himself. He penned before he died a message to the IRD, saying that “you are responsible for this, that you have taken everything that I ever had, that I now leave this world like I came into it, with nothing, but that I beat you, because you no longer going to get any more out of me,” and he signed, the last thing he did on earth, was to sign that note, “one happy man”. The IRD got that note, they turned up at the widow’s house wanting the ute and the tools. She then, ladies and gentlemen, goes outside and stands on the porch and sees her twelve-year-old son hanging dead from the tree. He couldn’t take his father’s death. The IRD have never apologised, never said they have done wrong.