How To Survive Real Estate And Property Taxes

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Pablo Edronkin

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Macchiavelli once wrote that it is more important to seem like a good person than to be one, and this is what really counts when the tax season approaches and you have to pay property and real estate taxes.

The father of political science was right despite the centuries-long campaign to have him blacklisted and banned from libraries that was really orchestrated by kings, cardinals, popes and democratic regimes as well (this is a documented historical fact,) so what this thinker wrote centuries ago during the Renaissance in Italy was as correct and blatantly true then as now; so it is better for the average citizen of today to know that because its political leaders certainly will, and use that knowledge to their advantage, which in fiscal terms translates to more taxes.

So let's consider that regarding property taxes, both the collector and the citizen have certain advantages:

- The tax collector has the advantage of power and law. If something that he does is illegal today, it may not be so tomorrow, plus, vast technological resources are available to him in order to - for example - take pictures of your home from the air in order to know what to tax.

- You have the initiative to elude taxes: I am talking about elusion, which is legal, and not evasion, which is not. But of course, doing things legally means taking advantage of loopholes in the law and everything that is at your disposal. Whether someone likes it or not, if it is legal, it is your right, so use it and remember that what it is may be made to seem like it is not… hide and seek, that is the name of the game.

Tax collectors are voracious because governments are too and are constantly prodding them to get all the money they can. Don't delude yourself: Your government may resort to cannibalism if it is necessary and do things against common sense if it comes to the survival of its regime. And as Macchiavelli said too, even republicans that are fair will need more and more resources to demonstrate again and again their fairness and thus, fall into arbitrary measures in order to appear as fair and just.

Moreover: Nobody could blame you really for attempting to pay the lesser amount as long as you remain within the boundaries of the law. Use your lawyer not to do what you should, but to do what you want, and try to hide as much as possible about you not in order to evade anything, but for your own sake:

The Hassidic Jews of Poland practically disappeared after the nazis invaded the country. Hassidas have always been the Hebrew aristocracy and naturally were among the Polish Jet Set in 1939, so the nazis only had to make a couple of hit lists and go after that people. It was very easy to do so because before the war those individuals were - if not celebrities - at least well-known merchants, professionals, nobles and so on.

And if you catch yourself now thinking "It can't happen here" let me ask you a question and think again: Do you think that you are smarter than Plato?

Indeed, while we would all like to outclass the Greek philosopher the odds are against us. So now consider that the man once wrote that every democracy ends up being a tyranny, confirming in a way what Macchiavelli deduced on his own. Now… learn from history and consider what could happen with the information about you that is available to others, including your government.

So, esteemed citizen and urban survivor, be remorseless when it comes to protect your interests because if you don't do that, nobody will do it for you. Seek the advice of an accountant and a lawyer, of course, but always take into account that the sate is here to reap benefits from you while tossing a bone from time to time in the form of "public services" or something like that that cost really much less than what you have paid per capita in the past. Forget patriotic duty and take care of your interests; be selfish because selfishness is what has kept humankind alive for millennia.

And speaking about egotism, there is another story that I would like to tell you: In the Loire valley in France you can see carvings in some abandoned quarries that look like homes… In fact, they are houses carved into the soft limestone fond there at a time - eighteenth century - in which the French kings were reaping taxes based on the calculated surfaces of roofs and windows… so people began constructing houses with no roofs at all and just one or two windows, underground.

Without resorting to camouflage nets like those used in trench warfare, you could do something similar by planning with the long haul in mind: If you build, do it underground, go downwards or inside what has already been constructed. Thus, aerial or satellite pictures will show nothing new inside your property and you will not have to pay more taxes.

Of course, learn from history and camouflage techniques as well; armies at war have even made whole cities "move" from one place to another in order to save it from enemy attacks: The British did that to Alexandria, Egypt, sot that German bombers during WWII would not hit the port, and they succeeded. It wasn't the case of magically moving a whole city of course, but of camouflaging it adequately.

Learn from the past and be a little paranoid; after all, if the wheel has already been invented, why do it again?

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