Who loves the IRS? How many hands are raised? OK, I'm no big fan, either. Even so, this is not a rant against the agency. In fact, today was an absolutely extraordinary day for us, in terms of our interaction with our tax collectors.
You get one of these in the mail, and it's, Oh crap..
The saga concluded today but began more than six months ago. The initial letter told us we owed $750 for something related to our nanny from 3 years ago. How could we be that far off? You plug in the numbers and the HR Block software crunches the numbers. But HR Block has an Ironclad guarantee. If you are ever audited, we will be there by your side the whole way.
Uh-hu. So we called Block and the rep recommended we just pay the $750, avoid any extra interest and then dispute it. If the software was wrong, they'll pay. Right. What are the odds that the frickin software is wrong? Gazillions of parents also have nannies and Block was unaware of any other problems. We're screwed.
So what do you do? You cut a check, because nobody is going to hire a tax attorney regarding $750. But I did at least want an explanation.
Interesting, how the letter says we owe this cash but doesn't say why. So you have to call. After waiting quite a while, Maureen gets an agent who says we need to ask in writing. Why? She explains that the IRS is short-staffed and doesn't have people at the ready to answer questions like this.
So they have people at the ready to say we owe $750 but no people to explain why.
The IRS requested a copy of our tax return for that year, in addition to the form regarding the nanny. I dug it up and sent it in, all the while wondering why the IRS doesn't have this information already. I mean, they examined the return and determined I ripped them off by $750!
We still get no explanation, so we write the letter asking for it. In a couple weeks, we get a response. Thanks for writing, but we're still really busy. We will respond at a later date. I believe we went through another round of letters like that, too. So busy, no time to explain why we needed your $750 so urgently from three years ago.
Look, we knew damn well we weren't going get any of that money back, but geez, we are entitled to an explanation, right? Well, today it came.
Maureen got this letter while I was outside digging up bushes.
"We got a letter from the IRS," She began. "You're not going to believe it."
Here we go. I was expecting it to detail how I screwed up the form somehow and how they have now checked previous years for additional problems and we owe even more.
But it went a completely different direction and I can hardly believe it. I was right and the IRS was wrong. Let me say that one more time: THE IRS WAS WRONG!
Tell me the last time you heard that the IRS admitted it made a mistake and was sending out a check?
Read for yourself, in case you think I'd make this up.
That figure includes interest, by the way...