We all know Ben Franklin’s adage: “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Just as our own mortality is inevitable, it’s equally sure that we will be met with many taxes throughout our lives. And when the bill comes due, the government doesn’t care whether you’re dead or alive. They don’t want any excuses. They just want their money. Rather, they want your money that they’ve claimed as their own.
Here’s a story from France of government officials sending a tax demand letter to a deceased woman. It that wasn’t bad enough, they sent the letter to her grave’s address. Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported:
The mayor of the seaside town of Sarzeau said he had received a letter from the public finance offices to a dead resident, addressed to “grave 24, row E, cemetery road,” his secretary told AFP on Saturday.
The town’s treasurer Christophe Libre told the Ouest France regional newspaper it was a demand for property taxes.
“Unfortunately it’s not the first time we’ve had this sort of letter from the public finance centre in Vannes,” Libre told the paper. Vannes is the nearest large town to Sarzeau.
He said it could have been a “joke from someone doing the change of address,” or “one of the heirs who didn’t want to pay the property tax.”
Taxpayers are on the hook to pay their “fair share” even after death. Consider how the IRS handles student loan forgiveness after a debt holder dies. Let’s say a student racked up tens of thousands in student loan debt, but then died, leaving a sizable unpaid balance. The feds may forgive the debt, but the IRS views that forgiveness as taxable income. (So, it’s not actually forgiven.)
As one mother recalled, an “IRS customer service representative suggested she sell her deceased son’s personal belongings to help pay the $27,000 in federal taxes the family wound up owning on a forgiven student loan.” They’ll come after the family to pay the tax. They don’t care who pays it, and they don’t want any excuses.