A Story in Yokohama

A Story in Yokohama-12

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A Story in Yokohama-12

A Story in Yokohama -12【Yamashita Park】
A Story in Yokohama【 Subtitled "Longing"】-12
Naomi's inheritance tax return was completed and the tax was paid. Naomi had to borrow money from the bank to pay the tax, but the management of the travel agency, recognizing the difficulty of paying the tax, offered to buy her shares as far in advance as possible, and she would be able to repay the loan.

After the first anniversary of Tatsuya's death, Naomi's life began to settle down. When the weather was fine, she would take a taxi down to Yamashita Park and take a walk around the area.

The colorful tulips blooming in the spring sunshine, the early summer roses bathed in dew, the golden ginkgo trees, the lovers warming each other on benches under the winter stars... there were many precious memories of her time with her husband.
It was also a place where she spent time with her late relative, though rarely. After her walk, she dropped in at the café of the Hotel New Grand, where Naomi used to stay. Whenever Naomi went there, the café would pour her a cup of fragrant tea.

She saw Yuichi and J sitting with their backs to her, just out of the corner of her eye.
Naomi didn't seem bothered by the sight of them, she just sat there with her cup in front of her.

It was May and Yuichi was having an early lunch in Chinatown, which was crowded with tourists. The phone in his inside pocket shivered. It was from Naomi.

“Tax auditor is here.”
“Why? They haven't contacted me.”

The voice changed.
“I'm sorry to bother you, but are you a tax accountant, Murakami?”
“Yes, but what's going on? What's the matter with you, coming to inspect without informing me?”

“I'll explain the circumstances of my unannounced visit when you come down here.”
“I'll be right there. The person you are dealing with is a senior citizen with little tax knowledge. Please don't make an unreasonable inspection until I get there. Can you pass it on to Fukada-san?”

“I'll be right there. Don't worry about anything.”

When Yuichi arrived at Naomi's residence, the tall tax auditor was spreading out documents in the reception area.
“I'm tax accountant, Murakami. What is the reason for this unannounced visit?”
“I'm Fukada, tax auditor. I have reason to suspect that your tax return is incorrect.”

"Oh, so you have the same surname as the heir, Fukada-san. By the way, it is obligatory to notify the tax accountant in advance unless there is a serious problem. What's wrong with her inheritance tax return?”
“I'll tell you about it. By the way, is there anything you can think of?”

“What are you talking about? Answer my question. I'm asking you, as the tax accountant involved, why you came without notice.”
Yuichi pressed him, but the man looked him straight in the eye and said back.
“I'm asking you if you have any idea what I'm talking about. What do you think?”

Yuichi answered,
“I have no idea. It is a correct declaration.”
“Let me remind you that, at the time of Tatsuya Fukada's death, 34% of the shares in Milan Travel Agency were in Tatsuya's name, but only 29% were in his declared estate. I have come here in silence because this is not normal.”

Knowing that the aim of the tax man was the five per cent interest he had manipulated in the return, Yuichi was internally unsettled.

“What does it matter? There are times when a transfer of shares takes place but the company is not informed until after the fact.”
“That may be so. By the way, when did the share transfer actually take place?”

“The year before last, in November. I have the contract.”
“I've just seen the contract. My question is, when did the transfer actually take place? I want to know if there really was a share sale.”

"That's rude. If you have seen the contract, you know that it was a transaction between the deceased Tatsuya-san and me. Are you suggesting that I, as a tax accountant, made an incorrect transaction?”
“I'm just trying to get the facts.”

The auditor points to the contract in front of him.
“Who made this contract and when?”
He asked.

“I made it in my office.”
“Isn't there a clerk who worked on Fukada's inheritance tax?”

“I didn't leave it to any clerk, because the tax returns were for people who were like family to me.”
“Did you make it on your computer?”

“May I have a look at your computer?”
“I would like to refuse, but if you need to see my computer to be convinced, then fine.”

The share transfer contract, which Yuichi had prepared backdating the date of the transaction, had been made out on Yuichi's desktop computer. However, after printing out the contract, he immediately deleted the file and was not worried about anyone seeing it.

“I'm sure there was no real money exchanged between Mr. Fukada and you.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Fukada used to live next door to me and had looked after me since I was a child. When Mr. Fukada became ill, he said he would transfer his shares to me, but that I could pay him later.”

“Really? Milan Travel Agency is an excellent company, unlisted but with a lot of unrealized assets. The shares you received are worth at least one billion yen if valued in the normal way.”

“If you're so sure, let's talk about the situation. After Mr. Fukada was hospitalized, he asked me for advice. He asked me how much the tax would be, because the value of the Milan Travel Agency shares would be quite high. I told him that, based on a rough estimate of the net asset value, the tax would be about 2 billion. Mr. Fukada said that, if that happened, the heirs would have no choice but to sell the shares because they would not be able to pay the tax with their savings, but he did not want to give the shares to a competitor. I explained to him that if he transferred five per cent of the shares to someone else, the heirs would be able to use the dividend-reduction method and pay only about 500 million yen in tax. Then, to my surprise, Mr. Fukada asked me to hold his shares. I told him I didn't have the money, but he said I could pay him back in the future when Milan Travel Agency bought the company.”

“So it was just you and Tatsuya?”
“Mr. and Mrs. Fukada had taken good care of me since I was a child. Mr. Fukada asked me to do a serious favor for him when we were alone on his sickbed, so I decided to accept.  I hope you understand.”

“I see. By the way, this contract was signed and sealed by Tatsuya Fukada himself, wasn't it?”
“Of course he did.”

“Where did he sign it?”
“In his hospital room.”

“When was it?”
“I don't remember exactly, but I think it was on November 26, the day of the contract.”

“I understand. Now let's have a look at your computer.”
The auditor said to Yuichi, and then to Naomi.

“I'll leave now. I will contact you again if there is anything I need to know. I would like to keep this share transfer contract for a while, if that's OK with you.”
He asked for her approval.

When Naomi agreed, the auditor prepared a document stating that he would hold the contract and delivered it to Naomi, then put on thin gloves, put the contract in a file and put it in his bag.

Yuichi told Naomi.
“I'm sure he understand. You don't have to worry at all.”
Yuichi smiled and got into a taxi with the auditor.

Naomi, with a stiff look on her face, gave them her regards, and saw them off at the door.

Naomi's inheritance tax return is being inspected by the tax office.
The tax auditor in charge is Fukada, who has the same surname as Naomi.

Fukada seems to be investigating the transfer of shares from Naomi's husband Tatsuya to Yuichi before his death, wondering whether it is true or not.

・・・To be continued・・・

-A Story in Yokohama

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