There are few words that wind up for a disappointment quite like “this will only take five minutes”. Whenever I hear the words “this will only take five minutes,” I know that my day has officially been compromised. Nothing ever does, and nothing has ever truly been designed too. People who say shit like that think we are all speedrunning our lives.
Some months ago I, like many other Americans, was filing my taxes. The differences is that I do not live in America. Frankly, I have no idea why I am doing this, as I 1) do not live in America, 2) do not use the resources of America, 3) do not work for an American company. America seems fit to tax me on my being alive. That would be fine, if the process of filling the taxes were painless and smooth.
I know I could eliminate this headache by reaching out to a tax company, but I do not see it fit to pay someone to tell the US government the three points above. So I opt to do it the hard way.
At some point in the tax filing process I was informed that I needed to get some kind of digital tax ID. I knew this was going to be a nightmare, and this was confirmed when the Tax ID website informed me that the process “would only take 5 minutes.”
Off the bat, they asked for a phone number. And of course, there is no option for a foreign phone number. As someone living abroad , I don’t have a US phone number. When one considers the number of US citizens who do live abroad, one would assume the US would have an option for this. But they don’t.
A few clicks later and I find a way to use my email address instead. My normal email address was in use on this website already, and no password I could think of let me in. The forgotten password option just let me know that they couldn’t find that email address associated with any account…
Sigh. The fuck.
So I just used a different email address and was able to make a new account.
I filled out a form and it was all easy enough.
But then it wanted pictures of my ID. Easy enough. I pull out my phone and snap a few quick pictures. These pictures are rejected. I then remember that I have high quality scans of this idea on one of my external hard drives.
It takes more than five minutes to find them, but I guess that was my fault.
I upload those pictures and they too get rejected. But this time it isn’t a quality issue. They just don’t like that I am a foreigner using this ID to register. So now they want another ID as well, one that shows my foreign address. I take photos with my phone –
-and they get rejected.
I don’t have immediate access to a scanner, so I waited a few days to get to my mother’s house so I could use hers. I scan ever fucking document under the sun, hoping that I can try them one by one until something works.
Except, once again, I can’t fucking login to the website. Same exact problem as I had before, so this time I just skip a bunch of extra steps and make a new account with another burner email. I fill out the same form again, and then figure out that my US ID is so old that it is too faded to use anyway.
The other ID I have is expired-
-by one fucking day. And that is about when I gave up.
Frankly, I am convinced that Dante got it wrong, and over the gates of hell are written the words “This should only take about five minutes”