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Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2004

LIFELINES

The guy, tax worries and cops


The guy

Reader David has a question for "the guy who answers them for the foreign community."

David asks: How do I renew my driver's license in the United States for the state of Georgia when I no longer have an address in that state. My renewal is coming up and am terrified of making a mistake with this administration.

Well David, this isn't exactly a "Japan" question, but, as "the guy," I guess I am obliged to answer.

We checked with the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles and it is a bit complicated. You will need an address of some kind in Georgia to be able to have your license sent to, but there are a number of exceptions for those living overseas.

I suggest you call them as we did at 678-413-8400 and also go online at www.dmvs.ga.gov/drivers/onlinerenewal.asp

Tax

Last year I was self-employed in Tokyo. The previous year I worked as an employee. Now I am an employee of a firm again. I received tax bills, which I paid on my income for last year, but they also sent me "advanced income tax" bills, which are very high.

I have paid one but cannot pay the rest. I have also moved from the ward sending me the bills. Will I get a refund on these payments as I am already paying income tax this year? Can I get the ward to stop sending me the bills?

Go into your new city office, explain what has happened and they will take it all over from the past city office.

They will give you credit for what you have paid at the other city office and they will sort everything out with your new city office.

One thing about the city offices in general is they are always willing to sit down and listen to your situation. The "case-by-case" system that's usually operated by city halls, while making it difficult to pin officials down from time to time, does allow for a certian degree of flexibility in these kinds of situations.

More cop capers

Reader Jean responds to Ian's letter on annoying police behavior.

Jean writes: I was riding my bicycle on the way home from shopping. Along the way, I stopped to admire a store's showcase. As I turned around, I noticed that a police officer was watching me. He stopped me and demanded my gaikukojin card and then asked me why I was looking in the store window.

I told him that I was window shopping and asked for his identification, but he refused to show it to me and walked away.

My husband and I later returned to the local police station to complain about the incident. The police officer's superiors met with us. They defended their subordinate and told us that he thought that I looked very suspicious.

He was worried that I would come back at a later date to "break into the store" that I was window shopping at.

Therefore, the policeman was right to request my ID. Needless to say, I was very upset about the incident.

After all, I was only a housewife on her bicycle window shopping on a sunny afternoon.

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to liflines@japantimes.co.jp


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