Friday, July 8, 2011

The long national nightmare is over

Last night

I’m done. I concede defeat. I’ve managed to put together all my documents from 2009, the ones I can find, but for 2006? Forget it. Oh, I’m sure they’re somewhere, amidst stacks of papers, but I don’t even know where to start. And IRSLady Yvette is coming by at 10AM to collect what I have, so, I don’t think I’ll find the motherlode of documents before then. I’m just going to let the chips fall where they may.

This morning

You know you’ve been hanging out with the IRS too much when they know your lingo. My pal Yvette shows up this morning at the appointed time, and of course, as soon as she walks in, Kona wants to say hi.

Me: Kona, no jumpies!

Yvette: No jumpies! Good boy, no jumpies!

So we sit down, and I break the news to Yvette, that I have a bunch of stuff for 2009, but gave up on 2006, since it’s just too damn long ago. Amazingly enough, she’s sympathetic.

Yvette: Yeah, it can be hard to keep track of stuff from so long ago.

Me: Exactly – I mean, I’m sure it’s all somewhere, but I just can’t spend that much time looking.

She looks over what I give her for 2009, and then, lo and behold, pulls out her own documents – turns out she’s basically extrapolated from what I’ve already given her for 2008 to 2006/2009, and has come up with what I owe. We start looking at her doc, and she explains it all, but I of course just beeline to the bottom line, the total for all 3 years. Which I tot up in my head, and when I do, the voice of George Bailey sounds in my head.

“You wouldn’t happen to have 7 thousand bucks on you, would ya?”

Yep, somehow even though I make no money and am po,’ with penalties and interest I owe the IRS $7K. Shit. Yvette is still talking.

Yvette: So you can either sign this that you agree, or you can refute it and come up with other documents and receipts to substantiate your claims and oh, oh! No no, doggy!

Yes, as usual Kona has decided he loves Yvette, or at least is beseeching her to not put too much of a dent in his pig ear funds, and has placed his head on her lap. At least he’s not plunking his marrow bone there too, like he did last time. Thank god for small favors!

Basically, what’s becoming clear is that if the IRS chooses you for an audit, you have to substantiate everything to a ridiculous degree. Receipts alone (which I have) aren’t enough – you need stuff like emails to prove that a business dinner was a business dinner, for example. While they weren’t silly enough to contest any of the medical stuff, they’re disallowing a bunch of other things because, apparently, they just don’t believe me. Hmm. So even though I still have negative income even after these changes, I have less negative income, so I owe self-employment taxes on my lower negative income.

My head then spins off its moorings and goes flying across the room, as I dash up to get it, and Kona goes back to putting his head in Yvette’s lap.

$7K. I run through the cost-benefit analysis in my head. Sure, I could spend shitloads more time coming up with more receipts and proof, though Yvette would probably only accept part of it, so the savings would be minimal. I think of Cori, who has literally had the IRS agent show up at her door at random times, to collect papers. I think of the fact that if I contest this, it could be opening up a can of worms, that then they might decide to look at other years, which I know are on the up-and-up, but damned if I know where all the receipts and such are. I think of what a huge headache all this has been, how many sleepless nights, how much anxiety.

I think of the fact that I’m Schleprock, she of the perpetual black stormcloud.

I think all of this within the span of about 5 seconds, and come to a decision.

Me: Okay, so where do I sign?

We chit-chat for a while longer, me and Yvette. On the need to keep good records for everything, on my

cancer status, on her former career as an EMT. We’ve bonded. It’s a beautiful thing. She leaves, and I immediately head to Facebook to inform everyone of the verdict, as I’m sure they’re waiting anxiously. And once I do, my friends come back with helpful suggestions regarding my request for a high-paying job. To wit:

  • Sign up with an escort service. This could work, though I’m still waiting to hear if there’s a company that specializes in fat surly women with a very bitterly sarcastic sense of humor. Jennifer suggested finding a niche for escorts with inflatable boobages. Maybe?
  • Set up a TomatoCam or PattypanSquashCam. Pay per click? Surely I’d be rich in no time.
  • Merwyn suggested a survey or sweepstakes site. As he notes, “The last two have earned me a whopping 5 or 6 bucks over the past few months, and Tammy even won $30 off of Publishers Clearinghouse.”
  • Mark B.’s suggestion, which I kind of like: “You could always go John Galt and found a town in Colorado the IRS can't see with their satellites and spy planes.”
  • Motya had a brilliant idea, and then yanked it away: “dog dietician and fitness trainer? (see my status re: beulah on a diet) um, no.. you'd suck at that. i see how you indulge that konie. ;-)”
  • And finally, Amy W. had what I thought was the most promising idea: “I think you need to get hooked up as the spokesperson for the pattypan squash industry.” Though as of this writing she was researching this, and had gotten to page 6 on Google with nothing yet about a pattypan squash industry, just recipes and Farmville growing tips. Clearly, the pattypans need my help.

Later I call my mom as I’m headed out to her place, and of course, she too wants to know the scoop.

Me: $7K

Mom: Gasp!

Me: No no, it’s a good thing! It’s fine!

I run through my whole cost-benefit analysis, and conclude “….so you see, with my bad luck, this isn’t that bad of an outcome.

“But you must be so stressed and worried – let’s go out to dinner tonight!”

“Oh, I’m so not stressed,” I note. “Heck, it’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders – I couldn’t be happier. Whee! Drinks tonight to celebrate!”

Yes folks, it’s true. In TashaWorld, this is a good outcome. And not that I ever get all Pollyanish about anything, but in this case, rather than being pissed off about the fact that I shouldn’t owe them anything, and thinking dark thoughts about all the corporations that pay absolutely nothing in taxes while they’re soaking the little people…….I’ve decided to not focus on all that, and instead just think……it could have been worse. Yes. So be it.

I call Cori too, immediately, and she also celebrates with me, recognizing the joy inherent in not having an IRS cloud hanging over your head.

So what have we learned from all this? Basically, two things:

  1. Don’t be the kind of dumbass who keeps bad records, or at least bad for the IRS’s purposes. Document everything, to the point of being annoying. Keep records forever; never throw anything away. Ever. Even if the Hoarders people show up at your door – throw yourself over your stacks of papers and make them drag you out to the dumpster along with the documents. Trust me on this.
  2. Have a blog that’s sweeping the nation, so that you too have an excellent friend like my own Alert Reader George from Canada. Who, way back when, sent that indignant email to my congressmen, one of whom actually followed up with the IRS. They then sent a letter detailing why they were (ahem) harassing me, so I could self-righteously rail about the fact that yes indeed, the high medical expenses and such were a big part of what triggered this! Plus, the IRS letter ended with a point about how they’d work with me to figure this out, cognizant of the whole cancer thing, etc. and so on. So yeah, I think that helped. Sure, I wound up owing them money, but at least they’re were nice about it. Thanks George!

And that’s about all I’ve got. Oh, and it helps to have perpetual bad luck, so that you view things like this, a sudden bill of $7K, as a good thing. Just as I was happy over the flat tire – whee! – because I got the flat close to a highway exit, so too am I simply delighted here that I’m not having a lien put on my house. AND, I’m done with the IRS (knock on wood). That right there, my friends, is more than worth its weight in gold. Err, not that I have any of that around, no sirree……


Roadie in Vancouver said...

People used to avoid the Vietnam draft by escaping to Canada and forming Commie unions here. So, how about giving the IRS the slip and moving North by Northwest? We do have Starbucks here!

Suerae Stein said...

O.M.G. I just cannot believe it. What a nightmare. I'm glad you are handling it so well and are able to make me laugh through how badly I feel for you. Your luck will turn around - I just know it! :-)

Tasha the Triathlon Goddess said...

LOL, Suerae, I've been waiting for my luck to turn around for years now. I think this is as good as it gets. At least it's good blog fodder! ;-)

Cori said...

Well said, well said. You are the only one I know that could make tangling with the anti Christ funny.