Is the third time a charm or do you strike out? Right now I don’t have the enthusiasm to find out.

I wanted to be one of the responsible, moral people (Personas Morales) who complied with the Mexican government demand that all non-national permanent residents register for an RFC (tax ID) number at the SAT (IRS) office. I live here full-time. It’s the right thing to do, even though I do not earn any income in Mexico upon which to pay taxes.

So, twice I have gone through the laborious process of securing an appointment through the SAT website – The first time, I didn’t see the faint blue link in the confirmation e-mail and didn’t print out the official confirmation form, so I was not admitted to the office at my designated time. My bad. I got excited thinking I had succeeded in running the gauntlet.

I had to wait to try again and this time I was sure that I had done everything right. I am pretty good at reading Spanish but I took the extra steps of copying and pasting everything into the Google translator so I didn’t mess up again. I received the official confirmation and put the date on my calendar.

Before I left, I gathered everything I would need: my passport (booklet, not card), the printed confirmation, my latest CFE bill as proof that I actually live here, a thumb drive upon which my RFC number would be recorded, and my permanent resident (green) card which includes my CURP number.

When I got there, I was asked if I speak Spanish and I replied, “um poco!” I was told I would need a translator. If the employee hadn’t been wearing a mask which muffled his words and hid his mouth, I probably would have managed nicely. Instead, they recruited a kind and generous shop owner from across the street (God bless him for his patience).

I pulled out all my documentation – I thought – but was told that my Mexican government-issued green card was not sufficient proof of my CURP. Neither was the confirmation form where it was printed. I would have to go to an office off of Simon Morua to get a CURP certificate and I had 10 minutes to do that.

So “Strike Two.”

The Mexican government insists that I have an RFC number, even though I earn no income to report and don’t intend to do so. It would be extremely helpful if the website translated easily into English and if at least one employee spoke English and wanted to assist us.

I’m sure that RFC is an acronym for three sensible words in Spanish, but I’ve come to believe that it stands for Really Flippin’ Complicated. My next attempt may be fruitful, but I’m not going to make the end-of-year deadline.

Since they assist three people an hour, eight hours a day, five days a week, they can probably only process about 300 people before they close for the Christmas holiday. After I find out where to go for my CURP certificate, I’ll try again in 2023.