Tag Archives: taxes

Never underestimate the power of a decimal point.

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Gather round boys and girls, and make yourselves comfortable while River spins the tale of her fight with the IRS.

It started with a letter and a ridiculous claim of moneys owed.

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We’re good citizens, we pay our fair share of taxes. Every year we pay, and pay, and pay. The husband worked hard all his life and we live comfortably. With no children and no allowable deductions we pay every April on top of the exorbitant amount Uncle Sam strips from his annual income…. so when I saw the IRS wanted $57,364 more than the $20,787 we’d already paid? I was more than a little shocked.

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As you can see, the problem lay in the adjusted gross income. I reported $157,557 while the IRS in their infinite wisdom said it was $381,774. Knowing that was (unfortunately) incorrect.… I investigated.

This was our 2020 tax form. And yes, the IRS is so understaffed and overworked they just now got to it. I file our taxes. Me, personally… and mail in paper forms the old school way. I’ve done it that way for decades and never had a problem, until now.

After some online research, I realized there was no other choice than to call the IRS. Which I dreaded, but did, repeatedly… for 5 solid hours that afternoon. No matter which number I called.. and I called them all … they were answered by the same recording. No matter how many different buttons I pushed or didn’t push, no matter how many internet tricks I tried to find a human, I got nowhere. Basically the phone lines were tied up, they didn’t have enough agents, and they wouldn’t put me on hold or let me leave a call back number. It was a nightmare.

The next day I called at 6:59 am. They open at 7:00 but still, I got nowhere. The lines were still clogged. How is that possible? After being on hold for over an hour and a half I finally got an operator. I explained the situation and they transferred me to the department that could help. Hallelujah.

I waited another 96 minutes. Yes, I kept track. When someone finally answered? I was ecstatic. Until I explained my problem and they told me they only handled returns and transferred me back to the operator. The one who didn’t pick up for another 42 minutes.

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Did I mention I was still in my pajamas and hadn’t had breakfast? The husband made me toast and beat feet for the man cave at this point because I was… how shall we say?… slightly perturbed.

After explaining my problem to a second operator I was put on hold for another agent in a different department. 103 minutes later my portable phone battery was dying as she picked up, so I ran to the office for the other handset before we got disconnected.

I had a long drawn out conversation with a rather crusty woman named Mrs. Knox who kept putting me on hold to investigate the issue. After trying to blame me multiple times, she realized what went wrong. Since I mailed in paper forms, the IRS had to enter the data electronically. When they keyed in my husband’s military pension of $27,641? They entered $276,410 instead. Oh, those pesky commas and decimal points. They get you every time.

Now that I’d brought the error to the attention of the government, and they admitted it was their fault… I figured I was home free and ready to hang up the phone.

Am I naive or what?

Mrs. Knox did not have the authority to correct the error. Nor did she have the power to grant me the 180 day extension that will be needed to clean up this mess because the IRS is understaffed and overworked. Of course she also told me if the issue isn’t resolved by August 5th they’ll send the bill to collections and possibly ruin my credit.

WHAT!

I spent another 69 minutes on the phone with Mrs Knox as she tried to figure out the best course of action. And by action, I mean they do nothing and I have to jump through hoops to correct their error. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. The husband kept coming in to check on me but I must have had smoke coming out of my ears because he would flee shortly after arrival. By 1:15 in the afternoon, 6+ hours after I’d started, the second portable handset had died and I was landlocked to the old fashioned plug in bedroom phone.

And after all that time? The only solution Mrs. Knox offered was for me to write a letter. Jesus wept! A letter. To the IRS. Which would sit unanswered on someone’s desk for another 2 years? Not happening.

So what did Mrs. Knox do? She transferred me to the Tax Payer Advocate Office because she felt sure they would take on my case. It won’t surprise you to learn that I was on hold for another 31 minutes only to have that operator put me on hold for another 44 minutes for a rep to tell me I would have to write a letter explaining the problem, provide documentation and a reason for requesting their services. Then wait wait 4-6 weeks for an answer.

I believe I may have screamed at that point.

Right after I hung the fuck up.

7 1/2 solid hours on the phone. For nothing.

So I did what any sane human being would do. I took a shower, got dressed, joined my husband in the man cave, popped the top on one of these lovelies….

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And called H & R Block.

🤨

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There’s no such thing as free money.

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The husband and I each received a check in the mail the other day.

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No, it’s not another round of Covid stimulus money. It’s a distribution from what is apparently a huge stash of surplus tax revenue.

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Every Maine resident received them and while extra money is always nice, it does make me wonder why there was such a huge surplus to begin with. Clearly our taxes are too high and to be honest… I’d much rather they reduce that burden then send everyone a check. Or they could fix the roads and bridges. Or build affordable housing. Or expand the heating oil assistance program. With the current price of fuel, winter will break a lot of people.

And if you’re wondering how that money will be used at Casa River?

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It will try to slake the never ending thirst of our twin oil tank beasts. And at just over $5 a gallon? Both checks combined won’t come anywhere near to filling them.

😫

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Ball tax… and other nonsense.

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Yes, it’s true.

The Maine state government has finally gotten around to taxing your dog’s balls.

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Beware “fully equipped” friends.

You could be next.

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I had to do a double take on this one. Although holiday poop gift ideas wouldn’t be an odd addition to my news feed at this point… that’s actually actually a shrimp poop removing tool.

And who doesn’t want to find one of those in their stocking Christmas morning?

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2020 is my husband.

While I carry a washable cloth mask in my purse, he uses those blue paper things and I find them hanging everywhere. Rear view mirror, stick shift, hat rack, door knobs etc.

Sanitary it’s not.

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What do you get for your tax dollars in Kennebunk, Maine?

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Flowers.

That’s what you get for the outrageously high property tax bills the town of Kennebunk sends out twice a year.

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But what lovely flowers they are.

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Every free space in the village is filled with them.

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It’s impressive and quite beautiful.

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Is it any wonder President Bush’s family has their summer home in Kennebunkport?

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People can be so hateful.

 

I know tax time can be a stressful time of year, even now when the deadline has been rolled back.

And I know some people are still anxiously awaiting their stimulus checks.

But please, can we all just take a breath and have a little common decency?

The following is a recent FB post from the mother of a friend of mine. She’s a widow in her 70’s who works for H&R Block at tax time to supplement her fixed income.

The fact that she even has to say this saddens me.

 

 

 

So please, calm down.

We’re all in this together.

Even the tax accountants.

 

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Who is Uncle Sam….

 

And why does the bastard want all our money?

 

 

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Ain’t that the truth.

But I’ve just finished doing our taxes…. and now I’m brain dead.

Yes, I always wait until the last minute. Why not? We haven’t gotten a refund since Christ was a Corporal so our returns don’t get mailed until April 14th.

You heard me, mailed. As in snail….with a stamp and everything.

Remember those?

 

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Haven’t you heard the Post Office is dying?

I mail all my bills.

I mail back every postage paid envelope that comes my way… empty.

I even  *gasp*  mail actual birthday cards.

Technology is great, don’t get me wrong. But there’s nothing less personal than a 2 second birthday text.

No one needs that.

So be thoughtful, take the extra time to write your best wishes….. and help save the post office you know you’re going to miss when it’s gone.

 

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What do you think of when I say…

 

Luxury item?

A yacht to sail the 7 seas…

 

 

That works… as long as you don’t forget your Brie En Croute is in the oven while you’re sipping champagne on the port side.

A fancy sports car?

 

 

Sure…. I can see you cruising into Goodwill in that.

How about a tropical beach house?

 

 

With hot and cold running cabana boys?

I’m in!

What you probably don’t think of when I say luxury item?

These:

 

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Although in many states, including my own….

 

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That’s exactly how they’re viewed and taxed.

As luxury items.

 

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Is your jaw hanging open?

Because mine was.

 

 

Take my word for it gentlemen…

Luxurious is not the word women use to describe that time of the month.

It’s not even close.

 

Well, it must be nice.

 

Tax time is upon us, and like every other year…. we pay.

And pay.

And pay.

And pay.

 

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It’s bad enough the government swallows half our paycheck during the year..

But every April?

 

 

They want more. **

So I wait until April 14th to file.

I’m petty that way.

Tax laws have changed this year, and no… I’m not going to get political.

But the instructions on the payment voucher did make me laugh.

 

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No checks of $100 million or more accepted?

Damn.

Now I’m going to have to get cash.

As if.

At first I thought, well… it must be nice to be able to write a check like that.

 

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Yeah.

If you can write a check like that?

Chances are you won’t have to.

 

 

And that pretty much sums up our tax collection system.

 

**  If you don’t know who Laura Moon is?

Watch Neil Gaiman’s American Gods on Starz.

It’s mind bending, trippy and totally rocks!