SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


The real issue
By David G. Hanger


February 26, 2010
Friday AM

People whose stock in trade is porcelain and glass should not be throwing stones, Paul Jarvi. Your presentation reminds me of those Pipster cons of about five years ago, those who knew it was a fraud and were gaming it for their own profit, thus used a variety of diversionary tactics to try to distract others from the fact that the whole thing was just a massive half-billion dollar Ponzi scam. OK, we now understand clearly you believe that anyone who gets behind on their bills for even five minutes, whatever the reason, is a lowlife. I rather imagine there are now a bunch of lowlifes out there who won't be doing business any time soon with you, either.

The real issue is whether KPU has the right to lie and to cheat, to restrain trade by putting up multiple barriers to anyone trying to change telephone carriers; and whether or not the City Manager can continue to use KPU and other government functions to tyrannize the public. Chalk Jarvi's vote up for a continuance of bureaucratic tyranny, a particularly odd point of view coming from the mouth of a supposed retail merchant.

Rather than being a smarmy, money-grubbing snoot, I offer a reasonable service at a reasonable price. I don't loan shark my clients because I am a certified professional, licensed to practice before the Internal Revenue Service and the Tax Courts of the United States. What is legal is not always right, and money paid into the government that I am simply recovering should never be an additional revenue source for me or any other accountant. Indeed, in Ketchikan no certified accountant offers any such service, but there are a lot of loan sharks in this town who claim to be tax accountants who do. They are not licensed or certified professionals.

The difference in price is astounding. For what we charge less than $70, their fees are $240 to $250. My clients owe a lot of money to Uncle Sam, and on occasion get a whole lot of money back from Uncle Sam. The average loan sharking bite is about 20% of the refund amount, thus on the recent $20,000+ refunds that I have generated, I could be scamming my clients for $4000 to $5000 a pop. Instead I charge a few hundred dollars for the work I do.

This has always been a town, Mr. Jarvi, of very seasonal employment. It happens that my "fishing" season occurs when a whole lot of other folks are down-cycle, thus in the winter months I am one of the few revenue sources these folks have. Electronic filing has no expedient value whatsoever if I wait for my clients to pay me their fee, particularly when they are broke, so it has always been my firm's policy to get the work done, and just wait for the gang to get me paid. It's a funny thing, Jarvi, but very few people rip me off. They might wait until June or July to close me out, but they never forget that money they had in February or March when they really needed it.

Hey, right now I owe the world a living, no doubt about it. I rack up $10,000+ worth of bills every January just getting ready for the season, and it will be close on the first of April before they all get paid. In the meantime, since Super Bowl Monday, the true beginning of the tax preparation season, a mere ten working days have passed as I write this; during which time we have put on the streets of Ketchikan, completely unmolested, hundreds of thousands of dollars in fresh new tax refunds that have already hit the bank accounts. I rather imagine all that money will pay a whole lot of bills around town, and buy a whole lot of new things. I also rather imagine you won't see much of that money, Jarvi, because people don't like doing business with folks who think they are lowlifes. Now I could be a jerk and insist that all my fees get paid before I transmit anything to the IRS, thereby delaying all this money timely flowing into town, or I can be a little late on my bills while I patiently wait for my clients to catch up with me.

One final note, Jarvi, just so that folks like you have it straight. I have never left this town owing anybody anything, which I doubt is something you can say. Family matters that are none of your damned business were a distraction at the time, and I missed a due date by too much. So what? Your Napoleonic syndrome is showing, Mr. Jarvi. Should you require further satisfaction, you know where to find me.

David G. Hanger, EA, MBA
Ketchikan, AK

Received February 25, 2009 - Published February 26, 2010


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