Right now I’m sitting down with a tax professional to review my past decade’s tax returns. See, I goofed an eon ago and skipped filing taxes. Had I filed, I would have received a substantial refund. Having not filed, Uncle Sam got mad and billed me for a ridiculous amount of money (5 digits). This tax bill has been a pain. If all goes well today, this will finally be put to bed; of course, it will take the IRS 10 or more weeks to finalize the paperwork so the party will have to wait until then. The lesson? ALWAYS file your taxes!
Update: It’s never good when the IRS agent on the phone makes your tax professional slam her fist on the desk and declare "bitch" after hanging up. However, that’s now one motivated tax professional! In short, over the past decade I’ve lost, not owed but lost, tens of thousands of dollars to the IRS. And they want more.
My Uncle Sam does bad things to me. It’s been our secret since 2002.
Folks, as tax season closes up many of us may rush through doing our taxes to meet the April 15th deadline. I wanted to point out a couple of details about your kidnapped child. Remember, if you plan on claiming your kidnapped child as a dependent, make sure that the kidnapper is not someone in your family or the child’s family (I’m not terribly clear on how the two are differentiated). Also, the child must have lived with you for at least one half of the portion of the year that they were actually with you. And remember, the child can no longer be claimed a dependent the year after they would have become 18 years of age because, well, they’re not with you and they are adults which makes them emancipated…they’ll claim themselves. For the actual IRS language, see Topic 357 – Tax Information for Parents of Kidnapped Children Last Reviewed or Updated: November 25, 2008. Those people at fairtax.org just haven’t thought about all the possibilities that Uncle Sam has already covered for us!
This post with apologies to anyone who actually has a kidnapped child.
UPS just delivered an envelop one inch thick from the IRS. Whee!
Today the IRS chose to empty one of my bank accounts. Any funds I put in that account go straight to Uncle Sam. I apologize to anyone whose checks bounce (Knox County Schools) because of this but I have no control over my government that is so desperate to fund an illegal war that it is willing to starve a 7 person household and threaten to put them on the streets. And all of this over not filing taxes for one year that I didn’t make any money and another year that I barely made enough money to sustain myself. [Update:
This may have less to do with unfiled taxes and more to do with a (once small) lingering tax debt that haunts me from an old business. Yes, the IRS sent me letters and yes I was taking action to avert this. It still hit me out of the blue.]
For the record, they overdrew my account by $102 dollars. Not only does your government have the legal authority to financially ruin you, make you homeless, and starve you to death, they can withdrawal more money than you have resulting a huge number of bank fees.
People, always file your taxes!
More to come after I buy a lottery ticket and a bottle of scotch. I mean, after I make some phone calls.
The irony in this type of situation is that I should be working my tail off right now to be able to pay the debt but instead of working I have to spend the entire day on the phone with the IRS negotiating with a manager to suspend collections for one year (of course, the house will have a lien on it during that year) by sending them a good awful amount of paperwork via fax which is billed monthly to the account that no longer has money in it to pay for the fax service (of course I could go to Kinko’s and use my bank card to…oh right, no money in the bank..no faxing from Kinko’s). When not talking to the IRS I have to be trying to get a lawyer to talk to me "um, retainer? well, see, the IRS took all my money.."
Update: A barrage of emails sent re IRS. Now we wait on those while sending some faxes on an unrelated issue that has to be played out like a chess game. I get a bonus move on that one then its up to them again.
Update: The tension in my wife’s voice is killing me.
Update: Newscoma has some commenters on the topic. And Michael Silence noted it.
Update 8/28/2008: What a great day!
You know, I used to be the model citizen. I kept immaculate records. Had a petty cash box in the house and an account in Quicken for balancing the petty cash. I tracked every expenditure and literally knew how much money I had down to the penny. Ok, that was a little Monk but I never missed or was late on a bill, I kept balances on my credit cards and always paid at least double the minimum, and I planned my taxes such that my return would be close to zero. I always filed early or on time. When my first business along with my first marriage collapsed, I slipped. I lost the will to do much of anything. When tax season came around my affairs were in such a confused state that I needed an accountant to straighten things out. Instead I simply didn’t file. The following year I had my act back together but assumed that since I didn’t file the previous year, I couldn’t file the consecutive year (a wrong assumption!). That was an expensive choice! And one I took a lesson from "always file even if the numbers are wrong or you can’t pay" As it turns out, had I filed those years I would have received some much needed relief both times. Now, the penalties on that first year alone will have me in a bind for the next couple of decades.
I’m back on the bandwagon. I don’t have a petty cash fund setup in my accounting software but order has been restored to the accounting side of my life. I finished my taxes on March 28 but waited to e-file until this Monday which was a mistake. So far my e-file has been rejected 3 times. The latest was that my adjusted gross income did not match last year’s return. After a lengthy stay on hold and some investigation, a nice IRS agent informed me that they never received my 2006 return! As it turns out, I tried to e-file last year and apparently was rejected (probably for some similar reasons this year had problems). I suppose in 3-5 years the IRS would have contacted me to explain that they did my 2006 taxes for me and that I owed $xx,xxx dollars. There has to be a better system than this!
I feel like for the past month I have given you more time on paperwork than I have given my family and clients. I have dotted Ts and crossed Is, typo’d and corrected, photocopied and triplicated, unearthed ancient hidden documents and proven and proven and proven. Taxes are done and filed. Eldest child’s grants and financial aid applications submitted. Other more personal documents having to do with a long gone past that refuses to fade into obscurity and history have been notarized, witnessed, and mailed. Please. My ink well is dry, my wrists hurt, and my finger tips are numb. I know there is more to come. But please. Allow me to rest. Let Lowry handle it for a bit!
Forgive me Uncle, for I have filled out your forms. Lead me not into audit but deliver a fat check directly into my bank account. Let us pray.
Based on the information you provided, your expected stimulus payment is $xxxx. [Source, Internal Revenue Service (IRS),Economic Stimulus Payment Calculator]
The estimated payment amount could be reduced, however, if you have an unpaid tax liability. [Source, Internal Revenue Service (IRS),Economic Stimulus Payment Calculator]