A relative of mine got his business closed today by the SENIAT, our banana republic version of the US IRS. The closing, with an assorted fine, will last for three days.
Did my relative forget to pay some income tax? No.
Did my relative failed to report and pay some sales tax? No.
Did my relative's business failed to pay any local tax or due? No. All taxes are clear, ALL!
Did my relative forgot to pay some payroll tax, some social security due payment? No, nothing of the sort.
Was there any custom tax that might have been overlooked when importing goods? No, all is clear, all custom taxes were paid.
So, why would the SENIAT close his business for three days, with a nasty closing sign on the door?
Because there was one item, in one form, that was not cited properly. It is about a foreign provider that does not pay any tax in Venezuelan, cannot be sued by the Venezuelan government, whose any infraction would be paid by my relative in any case as the responsible agent in Venezuela, no matter what the fault will be. And there was no fault of the provider.
The item is absolutely irrelevant for Venezuelan tax purposes, it has not cost a penny to the Venezuelan government and yet the business is closed for three days, because a case in a form should have been filled with an useless information of no relevance and was not filled because such information does not exist in the country of the provider and thus it cannot be asked to the provider.
The SENIAT officer that came, came with a gold chain on his neck, the latest Blackberry model which costs more than the monthly paycheck of 3/4 of the employees in that business, etc... That SENIAT employee told my relative that the line should have been filled up with made up information if necessary but should have been filled up. Giving Aristotle "Nature abhors a vacuum" a new shade of meaning.
The real reason for the closing: my relative refused to pay for the hinted for bribe.
And if you think that this was kind of an off-side story be assured that it is way more common than what you think and for even sillier reasons than that one above. The SENIAT, as money is running short for Chavez, is on a mission to fine on any, ANY excuse, with the maximum fine possible, private business. If it bankrupts these businesses and provokes a loss of jobs that is of no concern to the gold chained SENIAT scum bag..... As expressed by the scumbag himself when asked to explain to the employees why they were getting three days off but risking to lose their job soon as the business average earnings for a couple of months were wiped by the fine.....
And no, my relative is not bothering considering to appeal or go to court. Appeal where? To the superior of the scumbag that more than probably is in the take? What tribunal?