It Can Only Mean One Thing…

It’s February 14th, and like many Americans, one thought weighs heavily on my mind today.  The pink and red hearts adorning grocery store end caps are a stark reminder of what February is about.  The cute little boxes of candy with 20 classmate cards and the large heart-shaped boxes of chocolates that beg to be placed in my cart can only mean one thing:  time to start my tax return.

Yes, it’s already the middle of February and the stack of “tax stuff” piled on my printer can only be ignored for so long (62 more days, to be exact.)  But I don’t want to wait until the night before and then deal with the rush at the post office.  It’s worse than an after-Thanksgiving sale at Wal Mart….you fight the crowds and you don’t even have a chance to pick up a flat screen TV for $100.

This is what procrastination looks like…

Until last year, I was just a number to the IRS.  I would send my love via e-file without any kind of response.  The relationship resembled that of me and my junior high crush, Kirk.  No matter how many times I rode my bike past his house, he never waved.  Only this time, I was okay with the one-sided relationship.  Really, I was.

I guess it was inevitable that a slim and trim household income like ours, would garner attention.  Not adorned in bogus deductions or inflated donations, our modest means don’t draw envious stares from our neighbors.  Yet, last fall, our numbers caught the eye of none other than the IRS.  Instead of blushing like Cinderella at the Prince’s ball, I cried like I just received, well, a letter from the IRS.

I called the phone number on the letter and found I wasn’t that special after all.  The eleven minute wait confirmed what I already suspected:  the IRS gets around.  The woman on the line explained the $1,600 in additional taxes/penalties/interest stemmed from over six grand of unreported income, from my HSA used for medical expenses.

“B-but it was supposed to be tax free,” I explained.  “I didn’t do anything wrong.  I swear.”

“All you need to do is fill out a Form 8889 and fax it back to us.”

“I have it right here,” I said, holding the printed tax return produced from my tax prep software, which I also used to e-file the return.

“We don’t have one in your file.”

A file.  That sounded stalker-like to me, but I reminded myself that the IRS wasn’t just any suitor.  They could decide if my life would have misery or bliss.  When given a choice, I always go for “bliss”, so after hanging up the phone, I decided to fax that form in immediately.  Twenty-seven tries, and nearly an hour later, my fax finally went through.  I ignored yet another sign of the IRS’ polygamous ways.  I had heard of its gold-digging reputation, but I just knew, with me, it would be different.  I could change things.

Over the last several months, I received several love letters.  The revised tax notice gave us the amount we would owe if paid by a certain date.  Funny thing is, they forgot to send us the bill until several days after that date.  Sometimes, important dates can slip by, even in new relationships, right?

In case you’re wondering why we owed money since we sent in the missing form, we forgot to include the prior year’s stat tax refund on our federal return.  With penalties and interest, the IRS sweet-talked us out of about $30.

Since the IRS showed such interest in us, I thought perhaps I could get the inside track on how they are able to get a 4% interest rate on money owed to them.  You see, my savings account has earned a .01% interest rate for the last three years.  I wanted to know if there was any way to invest my money in their accounts, being that we’ve been in a relationship corresponding for several months now.

It seems I am anonymous again.

I thought our relationship meant more than that.  I’m beginning to think the IRS only wanted me for my money.  They didn’t get $1,600, but they did get some of my money.  Maybe they’re mad because they didn’t meet quota and had to cancel the department Caribbean cruise?


22 thoughts on “It Can Only Mean One Thing…

  1. Victoria-writes February 14, 2012 / 4:09 AM

    Just dump them and move on, you deserve better 🙂

    • JannatWrites February 14, 2012 / 7:59 PM

      I should, Victoria, but the IRS is of the “if-I-can’t-have-you-nobody-can” mindset 😉

      Thanks for stopping by today!

  2. suzicate February 14, 2012 / 5:40 AM

    Taxes…no, I don’t want to think about them! Instead I shall open my heart shaped box of chocolate and indulge!

    • JannatWrites February 14, 2012 / 8:00 PM

      Chocolate is way better than taxes, SuziCate. When I finally start mine, I will have tons of chocolate on hand!

  3. Connor @ February 14, 2012 / 8:38 AM

    I always wonder where MY interest is? I mean, they take money from me all year, and then give it back. . . shouldn’t they be paying interest for the time they’re holding on to money I don’t owe them?

    • JannatWrites February 14, 2012 / 8:02 PM

      Yeah, I wonder the same thing, Connor. I try to get my witholding as low as possible without having to pay at return time. It’s tricky!

  4. Tori Nelson February 14, 2012 / 8:42 AM

    I was singing TLC’s “Scrubs” song while reading this 🙂

    • JannatWrites February 14, 2012 / 8:03 PM

      Hehehe….yep, that’s them. Thanks for the laugh, Tori 🙂

  5. Debbie February 14, 2012 / 2:05 PM

    Oh, golly, is it tax time already?? Seems like just yesterday I was wading through stacks and stacks of junk in my annual effort to please this demanding suitor! Sorry you made their list last year — and sorry they pilfered some of your hard-earned cash!

    • JannatWrites February 14, 2012 / 8:10 PM

      I like to get my taxes done by March so I don’t have it hanging over my head. (Did I actually write “like” and “taxes” in the same sentence? There’s definitely something wrong with me…)

      It was stressful to get the letters, but I’m glad it’s over. It’s funny, I always underestimate my deductions because I didn’t want any red flags…and thanks to a missing form, they reviewed mine anyway. Oh well, tis life!

      Thanks for visiitng, Debbie.

  6. Carol Ann Hoel February 14, 2012 / 2:31 PM

    There was one year, and only one, in which our tax situation involved an accountant. Since and before that, I prepared our returns, without tax software, because it was that simple, SIMPLE. The one year we paid an accountant, he got it wrong! He forgot (he says I didn’t send him the 1099) to include my husband’s Social Security income. Duh! Why didn’t he ask? Because it was an oversight, say I. Rrrr. Since when does a very elderly gentleman not have Social Security income? Wouldn’t an accountant inquire if such evidence were missing? No!

    The IRS is a few years late in its investigation of tax returns, but it was eventually noticed. I was appalled. I knew it couldn’t be true. Then I looked. It was true. I wish I had not been so trusting that year. I was very busy and signed our return without taking a look at the return.

    IRS gave us the time we needed to pay the difference. Don’t let it get you down. Mistakes happen. It’s part of life. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • JannatWrites February 14, 2012 / 8:17 PM

      That sounds like a mess, Carol. You would think they would ask questions when preparing the return, but I guess that’s not included in the basic cost.

      We used to have our taxes done also, and I confess, I didn’t review the returns carefully either. They would always send out a packet for us to fill out before the appointment and they basically plugged everything into the computer and charged us $150 for the trouble. Not right!

      I’m glad you got it settled with them. My concern was that if they found a mistake once, they would be more apt to review (or audit) me in the future. I guess I’ll just have to see.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your encounter with this busy suitor 🙂

  7. Jonesingafter40 February 14, 2012 / 2:54 PM

    I think the IRS has a love ’em and leave ’em kind of attitude. Don’t feel bad. I’m sure they truly cared about your every dime during the correspondence phase..

    • JannatWrites February 14, 2012 / 8:18 PM

      You know what, Jonesing, if they love me and leave me alone, I will be just fine! I just feel so used and will need time to get my confidence back 🙂

  8. nrhatch February 14, 2012 / 4:59 PM

    Thanks, Janna!!! You have RUINED Valentine’s Day with talk of tax time. 😆

    • JannatWrites February 14, 2012 / 8:21 PM

      I hope you had your fill of chocolate before reading, Nancy. Love and taxes don’t seem to go together, but I do love to get it over with.

  9. pattyabr February 14, 2012 / 8:07 PM

    That is a sad love story 😦

    • JannatWrites February 14, 2012 / 8:22 PM

      Well, Patty, sometimes a parting of ways is a happy ending 🙂

  10. pattisj February 16, 2012 / 10:06 PM

    I would never have linked Valentine’s Day with Tax Day. You’ve got it bad, girl.

    • jannatwrites February 16, 2012 / 10:37 PM

      Yeah, I think there’s something wrong with me, Patti. The pile of stuff is still waiting for my attention. It will have to wait a few more days, though 🙂

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