Morning of grass, Wi-Fi & tax

View through the bedroom window this morning. Smells great at night.

ABEL THE DEADPAN Yardman normally comes Saturday mornings to cut the grass, but when I heard explosions from the neighborhood plaza at 6 a.m., I knew he wouldn’t arrive.

There was also live music, and Abel is a horn man.

His wife did come, however, to tell us what I already knew. She said he’d be here tomorrow morning instead, and he likely will. He’s pretty reliable.

While the grass continues to grow wildly, the doorbell rang again. It was a technician from Telmex, the phone company that is one of my two WiFi providers. Telmex’s service went dead last Saturday. Having two WiFi providers is a no-brainer in Mexico.

You want both suspenders and belt.

He switched modems, and I’m back in business. I don’t like to rely on the other provider, which is a TV cable company. Its WiFi takes a siesta from a few minutes to a couple of hours most days starting around noon.

As I do every second Saturday, I drove downtown to the post office before 9 a.m. to check my box, which usually is empty, but not always. I found what no one wants to find, a letter from the Internal Revenue Service.

It says I owe $1,206, including interest and penalties. There is a phone number, but it won’t be available till Monday. I bet this has to do with a screw-up of mine. I e-filed in March, as always, and immediately on hitting the Send button, I noticed a big error.

A YUGE one.

I quickly filled out an Amended 1040 (first time ever) and sent it via registered mail. You cannot e-file amended returns. It got there a couple of weeks later, I noticed through tracking. The amended form showed, correctly, that I overpaid by $842, which I applied to next year’s return, as always.

My income has been fairly steady for quite a few years, so I know what I owe. I overpay intentionally, and always apply it to the next year. If I have to pay from Mexico, it could be dicey. I have no U.S. bank account or credit card. There are services that let you pay the IRS by credit card, and if it comes to that, I hope they’ll accept a Mexican credit card,* and even if they do, I hope my bank won’t balk.

Always best to overpay to avoid squabbles from down here.

The IRS letter was dated May 2, and I got it today, almost two months later. Actually, it arrived June 11, but I haven’t checked my PO box lately. I suspect the claim that I owe $1,200 is based on the bad 1040, not the amended one they would have received later.

I’ll find out Monday morning. The phone line opens at 5 a.m. my time.

Otherwise, summer is going well. The golden datura bush outside the bedroom window is starting to bloom, sending perfume into the bedroom at night, which is far better than having the IRS on my decrepit tail.

* * * *

* A decade or more ago, many U.S. online businesses would not accept a credit card issued by a Mexican bank, but I have not run into that problem in many years. The rampant discrimination ended. In any event, almost all major banks in Mexico are foreign-owned. 

Citibanamex (U.S.), Bancomer (Spain), Santander (Spain) and HSBC (Great Britain). I believe the sole Mexico-owned major bank is Banorte.