If Patience Is A Virtue, I Must Be Virtuous..

PatienceWe have all, at one time or another, been stuck on endless-hold, listening to dumb music, interrupted by a recorded voice saying “All representatives are currently busy, assisting other customers. Please continue to hold.”

Yesterday I had a new experience when I called the toll-free number for help, printed on the letter I received just that morning from the IRS.

After pushing the obligatory “1” for English (don’t get me started on that topic), pushing “2” for menu choice, and entering my ID# for my sister’s estate – I got a recording that told me they were too busy to take any more calls today and to try again on the next business day. It was only 10:30am. Sheesh!

Well. This girl figures she is calling Washington DC, because that is where the IRS is, she saw it there, in person. So.. she gets up at 05:00AM to call by 08:00. This time, the recording tells me the office is not open, please call between 7 AM and 7PM. No mention of what timezone their office was in. At 06:00 and 06:30, still got the same 7AM to 7PM business. At 07:10 I got through to a completely different recording – Yeah!

This recording notified me that all representatives were busy with other customers, and the current wait time for a representative was over 30-minutes. And just what do they mean by ‘customers’? Like we have a choice. Victims – that’s the word they should use.

I put on my hands-free headset and checked my email. Then I worked on my book. I wrote an entire chapter before an hour had blown by.

Note to self: The IRS under-estimates the current wait time.

But I will not hang up!

I would waste all the time I have already waited and go back to the end of the line. No freaking way!  I could be at the front of the line any minute. So, I remained on hold another half-hour.  What the Hell – it was only time. I could go grocery shopping and run errands another day. I’m retired. I have the luxury of being able to hang out on hold, waiting to straighten out bogus penalties and fines for ‘late filing’ of a tax return.

Apparently, they misplaced the extension I filed back in February. When you add up the amount of the penalty, fines and interest on both, they are more than the taxes were in the first place.  I don’t think that’s fair. But then, we are talking about the same organization that squeezes taxes from the deceased.

When an actual, real live person picked up my call, she told me her name and her ID number before asking how could she help me. I scribbled this info on my letter. C.Y.A. at all times, my friends. Don’t learn this the hard way.

Jan, that was her name, sounded subdued, but friendly. The poor dear has most likely been screamed at by customers victims all morning.

Jan is a superstar in my book. After looking the account up, and not finding an extension for filing the 1041 Form (surprise, surprise, surprise!), she asked me if I have ever submitted a 1041 before. When I told her “no”, she sweetly asked me if I minded being put on hold for a ‘bit’ while she checked on a policy they had excused 1st time 1041 filers.

I almost choked on my coffee. Did I mind waiting?  Want to know what I said to her?

“No, not at all.” I told her in my happy phone voice.

Jan was not the one that kept me holding for 2 hours and I wanted to be professional and friendly. Especially since she had the power to remove penalties, fines and accrued interest from my sister’s taxes. 5-minutes later, Jan was back on the line and telling me I would receive another letter from the IRS – confirming the removal of penalties.

I almost told her I loved her.
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Image credit: AngSocialMed via photopin cc

Guess Again

Just when (you think) the chaos in your life is at the maximum level, the post-office puts a bomb in your mailbox.

Mailbox

Not the exploding kind, but the kind that raises your blood pressure and makes the headache that you thought was already bad turn into a migraine. You know you’re in trouble because the return address is: “Internal Revenue Service” and it is not even near the holidays.

Sure enough, we made a mistake. A typo that our software should have noticed when it did the math. We were too excited about getting a refund for once, to realize something was off.  The official document  insisted we send them $10,000.oo. Yes, you read that number correctly. And who says the IRS has no sense of humor?

Hey! Wait a minute. There is a typo on our 2010 form and we have to pay them what we still owed. Plus interest. We were not the ones that took 2 years to find the mistake – we sent our return in on time.  Now they want the interest that the absent money could have earned. Oh, Really? I want to know where the Hell they invest their money. I would like to earn that kind of  interest myself!

I can understand about the interest. Almost.  But a fine??   Sorry, we messed up and here’s your money + interest. Now please go away.  But NO,  you’re  punishing  us. To teach us not to mess with the IRS? We don’t. Hell, they know how much money we earn – they have the damned forms.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.   Tax Form

We shall pay their bill (what choice do we have?), but not until the other chaos in our lives has settled down and we can find where we hid the damned thing….

photo credit(mailbox): Steve 2.0 via photo pin cc

photo credit (form): Josh Thompson via photo pin cc