To pay your car tax you must go to the tax office yourself or have an internet connection and credit card. Your payment is then subject to a percentage penalty from your bank for using their service, whether by cheque or credit card. The presumption is that although you are doing them a favor by paying up, you must put yourself out to do it both with your time and your money.
The country is crawling with so-called experts of all kinds and they charge for their time. Say hallo to one of them and the meter is running. I had a doctor friend of mine phone me once and ask, "How are you John?" When I said, 'fine' he answered jokingly, "That'll be twenty-one guineas please!" Do you see where I'm going with this?
Our time, we are told, is precious and indeed that is true. If you get a GP appointment now for 10.00am, so do eight or nine other people. He's charging fifty squids a go while you are sitting bored, waiting for your turn. The stark message is that the doctor's time is far more important and precious than yours, whoever you are. Well, I say it isn't.
How would it be if we all charged them right back? Just say we all put an hourly rate on our time for those in officialdom wishing to communicate with us. Say you are commanded to appear in court for an unpaid motoring fine. You should be able to write back and say, "I'd be happy to oblige at €24.50 an hour up front. However, the date you suggest doesn't suit me because I'm extremely busy at present, (your Honour) I could fit you in the following Thursday between four and five but you'll have to come to my home. Terms and conditions apply."
Just look at the businessman who actually charges and collects VAT for the Government. He has to gather the relevant information first, pay an accountant to prepare the facts and then take time out to write the cheque. Why shouldn't the businessman be able to add his own invoice for all of his time and work on their behalf? The guys and gals in the VAT office are getting paid for their time and work, aren't they?
It seems to me we have become too placid and obedient. The next time you are asked to fill out any official form, tell them about "your" hourly rate and point to the small print where it should state that there is a minimum of one hour applicable as soon as you begin. You have to live after all and we only get one finite life. Why presume you must do everything for free? After all, you are the expert for the form you are asked to fill and so you deserve to be recompensed. The person asking you to do this work is not doing it for nothing themselves, are they? And you are giving them the necessary information they need to do their jobs. Do they really believe information is free? Try getting something free from them. You even have to pay for the 'Freedom of Information" stuff and you are supposed to have a right to that.
Perhaps we should all be paid for voting on polling days too. Do they think we have nothing better to do with our time? They are the ones looking for the turnout after all. Most of us don't give a shit which party is in power because one is as bad as the other and point of it all is so they can really party afterwards. A few quid wouldn't go amiss and it might incentivize us to make a better effort for them. When a Garda waves you down and asks for your license or insurance, shouldn't you be able to answer, "Certainly Guard, and which station do I send my invoice to?"
Any of you got other examples of what we could all invoice for?