Part one highlighted the trials and tribulations of obtaining court approval for our application. So after the 2 year wait for the court hearing, the result, advertised in one local newspaper and one Athens paper meant that we were issued with our number. 850/9-9-2011.
Little did we know the further challenges ahead.
We have to obtain a tax number for Walk with Donkey Sanctuary and a bank account, so that all dealings would be in the organisation’s name.
Obviously an accountant would be needed for this work and that’s when the troubles started.
During the legal process I asked our solicitor if he could recommend a good accountant. Remembering that he does not come from Ierapetra, he replied that he could not as they were all useless. Thinking this was an exaggeration, I assumed we would be alright.
We were given advice by Vocal and PAWS, but their applications were made in the Agios Nikolaos tax office and by accountants based there. We have to apply to our local town Ierapetra.
Firstly we talked to the accountant who prepares our personal tax returns. After studying the papers she advised that we should not proceed with this because if we submitted our tax return late we would be fined! We said that we did not intend to submit our papers late so that was not a problem. After some thought over a period of days she said in the end she did not want to do it
She recommended another firm, so I went to see them.
They thought that there was no problem but they would speak to the tax office. So after a period of days waiting I went back – no we can’t do this, was the answer.
We asked Cretan friends from Ierapetra if they could recommend anyone – No!
We spoke to friends with organizations if they knew anyone, but the problem is that there is still a closed shop situation and we must use someone in Ierapetra.
We spoke to the Notary who handled our house purchase and with whom we are friends; she phoned someone who said they could do it and came highly recommended. Another meeting –they said ‘you should have done this before as the tax office could fine you. “Yes I know’ I said, but have been trying to arrange this for months. Leave it with us – you’ve guessed, after a further delay – we can’t do it.
Recommended by a German friend. Good meeting, ‘yes I will sort this out no problem.’ Further meetings, no progress, no answers to telephone calls or e-mails – nothing new here.
Thankfully our solicitor told us never to leave an original document with anyone so that we did not have the bother of retrieving them.
I am now working on this process with friends, because I was told that you can actually do this without an accountant. The first thing I discover is that the court document confirming our registration and number is out of date and needs to be renewed. This happening because of all the time spent waiting for the accountants to deal with the matter. A visit to KEP, which is the equivalent of the UK Citizens Advice Bureau proved useful.” OK, no problem to renew this form we shall order a new one and telephone when it is ready - 7 Euros please.” Said the lady in the KEP office.
Before the process started I had spoken to our Bank to ensure that we would have the correct documents to open an account, their solicitors provided us with a list to make it simple.
If any of these accountants had agreed to do the work we would expect to pay for the services given. Our accounts have also to be audited professionally for which we would expect to pay.
If in these troubled times I see accountants complaining about lack of business, I will not be very sympathetic.
Because of this delay we had to forfeit a 5000 euro grant because we did not have a bank account in the charity name.
We will get there!