Just Trying to Pay My Taxes


Well let’s just start with the fact that every time I make a profound mistake; it usually lends itself to a wonderful learning experience. This is one of those times.

On a balmy day in January, I made the trek to San Jose del Cabo to pay my property taxes. It is a 28-mile coastal road journey for me.

Though aesthetically pleasing, the travel is on a slow, dirt, pockmarked trail, and takes almost 2 hours to navigate, and $20 USD in gas I might add.

Arriving in town I parked in the pay lot across from the fire station. Seventy pesos- (sometimes it is 20 sometimes 50) - I think it is what the market will bear at the time. Upon waiting in line for the entry clerk, I was told that the computer systems were down and that they could not process my payment.

They were not sure how long it would be; “come back tomorrow” I was told. Well doing that was not going to be easy for me. So I went on into town and performed all of my sundry tasks: shopping; banking; getting gas etc.

After I had completed all of my tasks, which was about 4 hours later, I thought I would see if the computers had come back online. So I found a parking spot in front of the ambulance service next door. However; that being said, the car in the spot in front of it had parked into the second spot and took up a good portion of the second parking spot. You’ve seen that happen right? So I snugged up as close as I thought I could get away with and not have them back into me. I trotted into the tax offices to see if I was lucky enough that the computers came online. No such luck.

Little did I know it but my luck was going to get measurably worse. As soon as I walked over to my car three police on motorcycles descended on me. They were like locusts. The one officer is pointing to the fact that I went a foot into the blue area, which left almost the entire blue spot untouched by the way. I pointed with a flourish at the car in front of me which had taken up almost two spots. I walked over and gestured to mitigate my position. The one officer was being very sympathetic. I told

them that the computers were down and that this was my second attempt to pay my taxes. I told them I was a resident; and how far I lived up the East Cape. None of that made any difference of course.

Reasoning my way out of it was not going to work.

The one officer had asked for my driver's license; which I provided for him promptly. He continued to write on his palm pilot ticket machine with his stylus. He was ignoring me and concentrating on filling out all of the boxes on the ticket. One of the officers left (I guess I was not the raging threat I could have been), and the other one apologized that I was getting a ticket after he heard my entire hard-luck story. By this time I had resigned to the fact that I was going to have to pay for a ticket. The officer completed his form and printed out the bill. It was over 6,000 pesos if I paid it now, and over 8,000 pesos if I paid it later. Are you kidding me? Over $300 USD. He still had my license clutched in his hand, and I asked for it back. He would not give it to me, and could not speak English. The officer hailed another officer who, thankfully for me, spoke English to explain what needed to be done. I was to go to the police station to pay for the ticket. They hold your driver’s license at the station until you pay your fine. I had no idea where the police station was. So at

that point, thankfully again, the issuing officer offered to guide me over to the station. I was very grateful for that. It is over next to the Casper Hardware store on Highway 1 toward the Airport (in case anyone needs to know). The officer was actually very nice about making sure I did not get lost. After I found a parking spot, determined to make sure I found a legal spot at this point mind you, he waited to show me where to go inside. He gave the clerks my license and the ticket. They produced a bill for me

to take around to the front of the building and inside to pay.

The tab came to $337 in U.S. dollars. Highway robbery; banditos. Well, I went up and paid my bill with good old Visa and then had to take

the receipt of payment back downstairs to retrieve my license.

The officer actually was kind enough to wait and make sure everything went okay. Or he was glad to stay put and talk to a very attractive young lady, but in either case, I was thankful for his help. I thanked him for his “ayuda me” and mumbled out a “lo siento” as well as I found my way back to my car.

So not only did I not accomplish paying my taxes; but the 70 pesos I should have paid for 10 minutes in the lot across the street seemingly was a pretty good deal now. So hopefully my bad luck will help

someone else reading this to make the right parking decisions.

They don’t fool around when it comes to parking in San Jose del Cabo.