No Ma’am, We don’t Do That

Have you ever had to deal with the IRS? Have they ever audited your tax return? Oh, Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, I hope they don’t and you never have to. For over three years we have been trying to get this issue straightened out. We’ve called, only to be on hold for two hours and finally give up. We’ve written. We’ve e-mailed. No answers to any of it. We went into the local IRS office, proved our point that we didn’t owe anything and they wrote a letter to have it dismissed. We heard nothing. In the meantime, we get a bill, then another and yes, a few more. Finally, today, I sat, phone in hand for two hours and twelve minutes before someone finally picked up on the other end. We went through the usual “prove who you are routine” giving personal information for them to check on their screen. Okay, yes, it’s us. We are who we say we are.

“How can we help you?” Finally! I sighed a sigh of relief, and said,  “We received, long ago, a letter saying we owed you money.”

“For what year ma’am?

“2011.” I replied

“Oh, I will have to transfer you to another department for that.”

I’m on hold again, waiting, waiting, and okay, someone is there.

“Hello ma’am, how are you today?” came the nicest voice with the longest, slowest, southern drawl you ever heard. He gave his name and his employee number.I wrote it down and asked him to repeat it.

“Ma’am. Can you tell me what started your problem with the IRS?”

“Yes sir, I can. You, the IRS, made a MISTAKE.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, could you repeat that?” he said in a voice that had  changed from nice and soothing, to abrupt and defensive.

“Yes sir. THE IRS MADE A MISTAKE ON OUR TAXES.” I repeated clearly, sensing I was in for an argument.

“No ma’am, we don’t do that.”  Was I hearing this correctly? “He said, “No ma’am. We don’t do that”

“Well, maybe not, but you did this time.” was my reply to him. Then….silence.

After a minute he came back to me, with a lot of jabber about how he could see in our file that we had a letter to them and how that matter had gotten handled but it didn’t have any bearing on the current amount due. However, the current amount due was exactly the amount due when the problem had to do with the mistake made. Hmmm. A little strange.

“Sir, you maybe think it was corrected but I have a letter showing that you have entered two amounts for income from Social Security under my husbands name, therefore doubling the amount of income actually received.” I made my statement firmly and to the point. Again, silence.

“Ma’am, I’m going to have to transfer you to another department. This is out of our hands at this point.” and he was gone. Another voice came on the phone. Name, Id number and phone number given and written down along with the time and date. I went through the whole explanation again.

“Yes, ma’am, I see all that information here. But we addressed that…no wait, we did but there was no change, no, that’s not right, hmmm, well, umm, that should be, (pause) could you hold please? Silence, again. “Hi, Mrs Rogers, it looks like although that was changed. Social Security did amend the first amount but maybe the figure wasn’t omitted from your return. I’m not sure what happened. I’m going to have to transfer you to…….

“NO, I’ve already been transferred. You can see what’s wrong. You fix it.” I was tired of the wait and the explanations.

“Yes, ma’am. Can you hold while I talk to my supervisor about how to handle this? he replied.

“Of course, please do talk to your supervisor. Thank you.” I said.

“Mrs Rogers,” he said coming back on the line, “We will get this handled quickly.  Please don’t worry. We’ll put your account on hold for four months while we do this and you won’t get any more bills and there will be no actions taken against you.”

” Four months? You are calling four months quickly?” I must have sounded aggravated.

“Well, yes ma’am but you won’t get any more bills. You don’t have to worry or make any payments. ” he replied again.

“So, you won’t bill me anymore for something we didn’t owe in the first place and you are going to take four months to get this reversed, oh, and are you going to give back the refund you confiscated after this past tax year?”

“Yes ma’am, if you have overpaid they will send it back. I think we probably can get it done in sixty days.” he was sounding a little apologetic but mostly still more confused than anything.

“Okay, I’ve made note of your name, ID, and phone number, and I will be calling you again to find out the progress on this matter.” I said. “Could you possibly try putting a rush on that sixty days?”

“Yes ma’am. I will definitely note on your file that you requested that.”

“Thank you. Have a good day sir.” and with that I hung up.

Now, do I think this is resolved? I’m doubtful. Do I think it will get done in sixty days? Again, doubtful. Are we going to get more bills? Probably. I really, really hope they got it straight this time. Who knows. It is the IRS. Do they scare me any more? NO. They are just people like you and me, following rules and guidelines as we would expect them to do. The mystic is now gone from behind that veil of the unknown for me. They can, and do, make mistakes, whether they know it or not, or possibly, whether willing to admit it or not.  Oh and yes, I will be calling them again to follow up. Wouldn’t you?

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