So, a new chapter has been written in tale of career as a serial miscreant. It isn’t a new crime, though, so don’t get all excited. (told this story here once, a few years ago, but bear with me, the tale goes on, at the end) I have a checkered history with the IRS, and the Commonwealth Commission for Revenue. For most of my life I did not file returns with either of these agencies. Then, the minions of the Commission for Revenue, here in Virginia were on to me.
I received a bill, for back taxes; which I paid. Then I received another one. So, I called up and admitted that I had no idea how much I really might have owed, but I felt it was probably less than the impressive amount that they had calculated. I asked the nice lady on the phone if I could get back tax forms.
She asked, “What years?”
“All of them, I guess. Well, since '65”
“What?” she asks.
“Yeah, all the years since 1965 to last year, (1994) and you better send me a set of this year’s too.”
“Sir, are you self employed?”
“No, I work for the State.”
I think I did irreparable damage to the poor woman’s faith in government with that one.
So, I was able to get back W2’s and forms for seven years, and that was as far as the records went. I filled out all the state forms, and sent them in. They sent me about 1300 bucks and told me not to ever do that again.
Then I figured I better do the same with the IRS. So, I called them up, and had basically the exact same conversation, and was referred to a supervisor who assured me that that was impossible. I told him I still wanted to send in the back forms, at least those that I still had.
He said that I might be held responsible for amounts owed before three years prior, but could not file for returns based on overpayments on any year earlier than three years ago. I agreed. I sent him my returns for the last three years, and got a very stern letter explaining the extent of my miscreancy, in failing to file, and a check for 4700 bucks.
So, every year after that, I have faithfully filed on the day after my W2’s are delivered. During the second year after that, it occurred to me that I was just moving into a period when it was possible that the IRS could interfere with my life again, so I called up and asked about audits. The nice lady told me about the random and computer scanned patterns by which taxpayers were selected for audits, and also that reports from citizens could cause one to be audited.
I told her, “Great, can I have an audit?”
There was a brief bewildered discussion, followed by her assurance that since I filed a short form, and took nothing but standard deductions, no audit would be likely. I told her that I wanted one anyway.
So, she said she would contact me, by mail. She did. I was audited, and everything was fine. I won’t say that it was not in some way a guerilla theater thing, but for the next four years I called up and asked for an audit. The one that was the most fun was the time I had filed by phone, and had the IRS do the calculations. But, I reminded them, even the IRS can make an error, and I don’t want any unexpected problems.
So, I got bored with it all, and for the last few years, I haven’t asked to be audited. Now, last year, my mom and dad died, and various strange thing happened with my income, involving the sale of long term assets, inheritances, and interest owed, and paid to me, from other sources. I did it myself, and filed, and forgot about it.
Until today. Today I got a letter from the IRS. I was informed, in dry government form letter prose that they had discovered an error in my calculations of tax owed for last year. Specifically, line number so and such, sub section whatever said this, and that was not the correct number.
Then a set of figures were listed, under headings for: What you said, and What we say. There is a set of instructions for what to do if I disagree. If I don’t disagree, they say I will receive $2600 or so, in about six weeks.
Hey, works for me!
But now I wonder. What the heck happened down in Richmond? Are they just gonna “Keep the change?” They were the ones that started this whole thing. I think I will call them up next week, and ask what the deal is.
On the whole, whatever it is that I have paid for it, being the one citizen in the entire country that has absolutely no fear of the IRS is worth it. Threaten me with an audit! Go ahead, I could use the money!