I finished submitting the rent payments for all 79 of our mission’s apartments. All of the tax calculations, negotiation with landlords, and contract updates were complete, and well before Friday when the electronic funds would be transferred. I was relieved to finally submit the forms to the financial headquarters.
Two minutes later, the finance department emailed me back: "The Taiwan property tax changed this year. Now, the 2% only applies if the apartment’s rent is over $20,000." Argh! All of the values were wrong because the base dependency had changed!
I ran to President Jergensen and told him, "Don’t hit the ‘approve’ button." I re-calculated the values, printed out a spreadsheet, and went through all of the electronic transfer payments, changing the sums. I painstakingly double-checked, triple-checked, and clicked "submit."
The church tech support office had no idea what to do. I experimented, and found that the payments would go through if I submitted them one at a time. So, I sat at the computer and clicked all the little buttons one at a time, waiting for the page to display an animation and reload at a snail’s pace. At last, after an eternity of clicking and waiting, all 79 payments were successfully submitted.
Aside from dealing with this inconvenience, Elder Xiao and I also signed a few apartment contracts this week. One of the difficulties we face with renting apartments is landlord tax-dodging. The Church pays an honest tax on all properties it rents. Very few tenants do this. The problem this creates for landlords is that it makes it clear that the apartment is not, in fact, a personal residence, and obligates them to pay an honest income tax at the higher "non-personal property" rate. So, few landlords are willing to rent when they find out we’re going to pay taxes on the apartments. That’s my boring legal interjection for the week.
We ate all-you-can-eat pizza at Pizza Hut in Songshan!
This week, we fixed a toilet leak by tightening a pipe seal. We carried a gigantic wooden bed assemblage from Taoyuan to Taipei in the van. I worked on finding the Chinese and English for every proper noun in the Old Testament, a formidable task that will help me format the three-column Chinese/Pinyin/English language study edition of the Old Testament. I made a bunch of new C++ data structures to untangle some spaghetti code in the reporting system I’m building.
Standing by the road where we looked at an apartment this morning.
That’s about it for this week. It was a splendid week!