By Piper Bayard
The IRS came after me, and I’m smiling. Yes, smiling.
No, I don’t enjoy paying taxes. In fact, I’m appalled by the way the government misappropriates or flat out pilfers half of what it takes, and then our “leaders” refuse to balance the budget. . . . No, I’m smiling because the IRS came after me. Allow me to explain.
A while back, I went to my mailbox and found hate mail from the IRS. I felt ill when I saw the envelope. Not because I’ve been dishonest on my taxes, but because when it comes to the IRS, no news is ever good news.
Sure enough, I opened it, and it was a demand for thousands of dollars plus penalties and interest from two years ago. WHAT??!! I immediately became 100% focused, something that usually only happens when I’m writing fiction, flirting with my husband, or writhing in the throes of childbirth.
Reading through the letter, I didn’t have the first flaming clue what they were talking about. Some transaction I didn’t remember involving an exchange I didn’t recognize and money I neither spent nor saved because it never existed.
I pulled out my records, and after much gnashing of teeth, rapid-fire consumption of gluten-free pretzels, and screaming of expletive deleteds that would make Spanish sailors blush, I found what they wanted, and why. And . . . here’s the smile part . . . I found they only had it half right. There was definitely an error, but it was an error in MY favor.
Delighted, I immediately sat down and answered the IRS with a thank you note for pointing out my unclaimed tax return, and I attached the documentation to prove it. I seriously considered charging them penalties and interest for the free loan they enjoyed from me for the past couple of years, but if I could count, I never would have gone to law school. I deemed that little bit of gloating to be too time-consuming, so I passed.
The result? I haven’t seen any money yet, but this past Saturday, I did receive a single sentence note of apology added to the backside of a form letter. . . . Yes. I’ll bet they are sorry.
So what’s the moral of this story on this Tax Week? Be sure to take all of your deductions, and if the Boogie Tax Man comes knocking at your bank account, don’t freak. He just might be doing you a favor.
Do you have any Tax Day stories to share? I’d love to hear them. 🙂
All the best to all of you for a week of substantial returns.
Love it! Glad it worked out for you!
Unfortunately, all my tax day stories are about me OWING the IRS money because the Social Security Administration did not deduct taxes from my SSI. My fault, I suppose, but theirs, too. But in the end it all comes down to me because I’m the one who owes the money. Sigh.
It’s so complicated that it’s easy to make mistakes.
And hold onto those records! Good thing you had them, Piper! Seven years, people. Seven years! Ten if is for business! 🙂
And we had an error in our favor, too. Thank you Mr. Tax Guy for finding it. 🙂 Momma’s going shoe-shopping.
Definitely hang on to those records! Several years ago we got a letter from the IRS accusing us of not filing taxes for four years. This was back in the days before direct deposit, so I even had photocopies of the refund checks for those years, so I sent ’em off with copies of our 1040-whatevers. We never even got a one-line apology, but they never showed up on the doorstep, either. Now I’m so freaked out I never throw any tax related stuff away. I’ve got fifteen years of tax returns in the file cabinet just in case. Including this year’s along with a photocopy of the check we had to send them. I’ll just vicariously enjoy your shoes, Renee. 🙂
Wow. That sounds like a scary experience. I think that would make me hyper-vigilent about record keeping, as well.
Great advice. Thank you, Renee.
Piper, I love these kind of stories! Good for you! I hope to never hear from the IRS. **knocking wood** ‘Nuff said. 😉
Well, I sleep with my tax guy…hey, it’s my husband!…and so I hear LOTS of tax stories. Our nonprofit writer association got into trouble a few year’s ago for not filing (we didn’t owe anything…but we had neglected to fine) and were slapped with some severe fines. (cue teeth gnashing and blue-air-cursing). But my husband filed the needed forms, wrote great letters and got all fines forgiven and has kept the organization in line since then. He’s always in a GREAT mood when he comes home after a big “solved a problem” day especially when getting corrections that pay the taxpaper money they didn’t know they had.
But the bad news…I can’t fudge on anything. I mean, he won’t let me deduct my bling or sequins as a work expense. How narrow minded!
I’m all for marrying useful men. . . . I may need to chat with your hubby. We don’t owe anything, but I was snowed in and couldn’t get to the post office on Monday. We mailed ours late this year. Could be I’ll be getting more letters in the near future. And as for the bling, there has to be a loophole. 🙂
Our accountant made a mistake and Danny made a claim last year for over-payment. When we didn’t receive a check, he made another claim. That was 9 months ago!!!!!
Good luck collecting. Let me know how long it takes them.
Great post, Piper! I can’t say the tax men have ever done me a favor like that (I wish they would!). I’m glad this one worked out on your behalf! The IRS is always scary, even when you’re innocent.
IRS, DHS, and nuns with rulers — always intimidating.
Nice. Glad you got some money back from those thugs. I always tried and keep it so my return is almost zero. I don’t want them holding onto anymore money than they legally can take. Besides, the way this government is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were soon IOUs for refunds. *shudder*
Please don’t give them ideas, Jae. 🙂
I’m amazed you had everything you needed to respond to something 2 years ago. Geez! Freaky. You are a force to be reckoned with, Ms. Bayard! I’m glad it all worked out.
LOL. I keep everything to do with taxes on paper in manila files that are organized by year. I didn’t even have to boot up the filing cabinet to find the records. 🙂
bwahahahahaha!!! I so love stories like this!
Cool. Glad it worked out the right way!
My taxes worked out a treat this year. I got a full $5 refund. My wife and I have debated whether we should save this windfall or splurge. I’m in favour of splurging and I’m hoping we’ll have enough to buy a cauliflower at the weekend 🙂
LOL. Bring it with you to DFWCon. We’ll paint the town red.
DFWcon? No chance. My wife will go mad with this kind of money. It’ll be spend, spend, spend. Well, for the thirty-five seconds it takes to order a coffee, after that it’ll be business as usual 🙂
How unusual. Glad it worked out.
Thank you. 🙂
Good for you, Piper! Renee is right–seven years. I married a CPA (who isn’t doing that anymore, but still…), and it’s nice to be able to ask questions when something is confusing.
Oh, who am I kidding? The entire U.S. Tax Code is confusing! This level of chaos would never happen if we would get wise and simplify the code. But I digress.
Congrats. Thanks for sharing your story!
The tax code is a mess. I’m a flat tax advocate for so many reasons. Simplicity is one of them. 🙂
You rock! 🙂