This may be a work of fiction…
Once upon a time there was a seemingly ordinary woman who waited until the last day to mail the joint tax return for her MOMD and herself. The woman’s CPA had done his part in a timely fashion and advised the woman that quite a bit of money was expected (from the IRS).
This was disheartening but the woman gathered resources, printed the necessary documentation, wrote the check for a startling amount, placed all in an envelope, addressed said envelope, took said envelope to the nearest postal facility and had said envelope hand stamped so that the IRS (that much loved and revered arm of the government) would see that the seemingly ordinary woman was a good citizen and paid her taxes on time.
A sigh of relief. A giggle as the seemingly ordinary woman remembered how her beloved father was never a happy man on tax day. In order to show his displeasure at having to mail a check to the IRS he too would wait until the last day and then do naughty things like put the stamp upside down on the envelope.
The seemingly ordinary woman had a niggling sense of discomfort that something wasn’t right. Every day she checked her bank account to see if the IRS had cashed the check.
Day after day until one day there was a dreadful notice waiting in her Credit Union’s inbox. A check for a large amount was presented and returned for NSF (Non Sufficient Funds). What? How could this be? There was more than enough to cover that check…in a different checking account.
The woman (picturing herself in an orange jumpsuit, shackled and studying for her bar exam so she could defend herself in the wake of this disastrous mistake) gathered her things and hurried off to the credit union to see what could be done.
The credit union employee confirmed her fears. She had, indeed, written the check on the wrong account. She was advised to go home and make a call to the IRS. Well, THAT certainly seemed like a fun way to spend one’s day, haggling with the IRS after being on hold for a half hour or so. Mr. Smith of the IRS, a conscientious and courteous individual) advised that I needed to wait for a letter explaining what should be done next. Paid the tax bill online was what was done next! Ah, the relief.
UNTIL a few days later when the fees and penalties letter showed up. $188. Mind you the taxes had been paid in full. There was a line on the bottom of the letter telling the seemingly ordinary woman that she could dispute the charge.
Never one to back down from a challenge she hauled her buns back to the credit union, where the same helpful service manager typed a letter and included supporting documentation explaining it was all a mistake. This was mailed to the IRS and the woman was hopeful – as she is aware of the reputation of the forgiving branch of government know as the Internal Revenue Service.
A few weeks later MOMD signed for, not one, but two registered letters (think joint tax return) advising the penalty, accrued interest and late fee was now $250 with the possibility of a lien being placed against the domicile of a seemingly ordinary family.
Picking up the phone and calling her favorite people in the whole world she was able to listen to the same 30 seconds of looped boring, what cannot remotely be called music, for 47 minutes. This time, Ms. Hammond was the helper. A professional pleasant sounding sort, she spent quite a while researching the situation.
The end result of all of this is that the IRS, the government organization with a reputation of being unforgiving extended forgiveness. The seemingly ordinary woman paid $13.51 in interest. That’s it.
So, what have we learned from this possibly fictional account of a woman and the IRS?
- Don’t wait until tax day to mail your return. Shoot for a deadline of, say, April 13 to avoid that rushed feeling.
- If you must write a check to the IRS use the correct checkbook.
- Get to know your credit union employees.
- Ask to speak with Ms. Hammond if ever faced with such a situation. Tell her she comes highly recommended.