Bayard & Holmes
~ 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 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 Weekend? 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.
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Piper Bayard is an author and a recovering attorney. Jay Holmes is a forty-year veteran of the military and intelligence communities. Together, Bayard & Holmes write espionage fiction and nonfiction. Their upcoming nonfiction release, SPYCRAFT: Essentials for Writers, covers everything from what the main intelligence agencies do and where they operate to honey pots, sleeper agents, enhanced interrogations, and more. Now on sale at Amazon!
I have to admit I wasn’t sorry to hear they actually had to pay YOU because it was a mistake on THEIR part. The IRS is ridiculous but that is the case with anything remotely related to government. Thanks for sharing.
I will say it was quite the relief that it turned out that way.
I’ve been audited at least three times through the years, and only once did I end up having to pay more. The other times, they had to refund money to me.
That’s awesome! I hope the refunds amounted to more than what you had to pay that one time.
Wish I could remember.
Great story! I have one to share as well. This year we hired an accountant, for the first time ever. We hadn’t heard from him and it was now Friday the 13th–coincidence? I think not! I admit we’re Luddites. We have a fairly simple phone with an answering machine. Recently our phone service provider, nameless here forevermore, “upgraded” our service to include voicemail. They neglected to tell us how to access said voicemail.
I called the accountant first thing Friday morning and was assured by his office that he would call back shortly. In the meanwhile, my brother called and I absentmindedly picked up the phone. As soon as he started talking I heard two beeps which meant another call was coming in. I have no idea how to switch calls in the middle of a preexisting one. And sure enough, the message went into the voicemail box that I don’t know how to access.
Frantic, I called my provider–which apparently employs only robots–to get access to the embargoed voicemail. The friendly robot said the service was working fine and is there anything more I can do for you? My nails already bitten down to the first knuckle, I call the accountant’s office. He isn’t in, but they give me his cell phone number. I dial with what’s left of my fingers only to receive the message that his voicemail box is full. He doesn’t know I returned his call, and he assumes I heard his voicemail message, which I hadn’t/couldn’t.
I call his office yet again. They assure me his voicemail box is never full. “But it is!” I persist. One of them says, “I’ll let him know you called.” How they will do this when he’s not in the office and his cell isn’t taking new clients, a Luddite like me can only guess. Meanwhile the day is getting on, sunlight’s fading. The IRS is greedy for what we owe. Their office closes at five.
The phone rings and I pounce on it like a desperate lover. My accountant assures me everything is fine. His people will send a secure email this afternoon. We’ll make the deadline. Uncle Sam will become richer than he already is. We all win. I hang up and begin to watch my inbox compulsively. Five o’clock rolls around and no email arrives, secure or otherwise, no matter how frequently I refresh the page. It looks like a frazzled weekend with TurboTax and paying twice for one mistake. I love America!
Steve! So good to see you!
Bless your heart! As they would say back in the old country (Texas Panhandle), automated phone services are “of the Devil.” I think we have until the 17th this year. At least there’s that. Thank you for sharing your story. I feel for you. Good luck!
Thanks for the word “luddite.” It describes me to a T. I’ll have to start using it.
Yay you! I was told by former IRS agent turned author to ALWAYS fight back. Back in the 90’s, the Congress passed a Taxpayer Protections law. Sorry for the stress though.
Be sure to frame the apology letter from IRS. It may be the only apology you ever get from them!