Wednesday, 3 January 2018


The other day I had to telephone the tax office to find out my tax file number. I spoke to an absolutely exceptionally nice girl called Huong. She gently pointed out to me that I did not file a tax return in 2010 and I should have done. Instantly I became panic stricken. "What will happen to me?" I shrieked at her, "I haven't got any papers from that far back; how will I be able to file anything that will satisfy the tax commissioner?"

"Don't worry", she told me, "we have all the information, here at the tax office; I can call up your details on our computers and give you everything you need in order to fill out your form." She proceeded to do that, and we spent a happy (?) forty-five minutes together running through my various taxable sources of income for the year in question. She supplied me with all the figures and details I needed and then posted me the form the tax office needs me to fill in.

It was only as I was laboriously copying onto the form the information that Huong had kindly provided that it occurred to me to wonder whether this was a sensible use of anybody's time. Providing the tax office with information that I am only in possession of because the tax office has been kind enough to give it to me is a task of such circularity that Escher's Ascending and Descending springs to mind.

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