Archive for February 9th, 2009

Problems With the IRS? God Help You

I got the call from my boss last week.  They would like me back at work starting Monday the 16th.  This is about what I expected.  I used to start back up right after the new year, but over the years we’ve learned that there’s really no need for me to be there that early.  The full-time staff can handle the early work load, and even the simplest tax returns don’t start trickling in until mid-February.  This works for me because it gives me time to get my personal tax returns filed.  There’s nothing worse than coming home from a full day of tax prep and then have to sit down at home and work on…more taxes.

I was all excited Saturday evening.  I had finished up our tax return, double-checked everything, and sent it on its merry way through cyberspace.  I was advised that since we were e-filing, I could expect my refund in as little as 8 days.  Cool!  About two hours later, my bubble burst when I was informed that the IRS had rejected our Federal return.  Because our Federal return was rejected, I got another e-mail saying our state return was also rejected.  OMG.  I had never been rejected before–at least not by the IRS.

The error message I received was that the EIN (Federal ID Number) on one of my forms did not match IRS records.  It was on the 1099R form that my employer had sent me on my dissolved 401(k) plan that I had rolled over into an IRA.  Since it was a direct rollover, and totally not taxable, it doesn’t affect my tax liability at all but the IRS still matches documents and likes to see everything included with your return.  Since I had entered the number exactly as it was printed on my 1099 form, I sent an e-mail to my boss asking if this was definitely the right number.  He replied this morning that it was indeed the correct number, and he had the IRS confirmation of it from 2001.  Hmmm.  Surprise, surprise.  Another IRS error.  It’s not the first time we’ve seen this.

Okay.  I could now print another copy of everything and send my returns via snail mail.  This would delay any refund I’m getting by about 3 weeks.  I also will have to make a trip to the Post Office to get the damn things weighed.  The main reason I like to e-file is because our returns are fairly complex (trust me, not because we’re rich–we just need to file a lot of different forms) and they end up looking like mini-pamphlets, barely fitting into a business size envelope.  Also, I paid an extra $10 for my tax program because for some reason, while TurboTax has no problem e-filing my state return every year, the less expensive TaxCut can not handle this function and makes me print and mail my state return.  Go figure.

Since this was not going to be the easy fix I was hoping for (say, like if my office had typed the wrong number and I could just go into my return and put in the correct number and resend), I figured I would call the IRS taxpayer help line and see if there was some way I could still e-file.  Of course I expected to be on hold for a while.  But I didn’t expect to have music blasting into my ear at a deafening level.  It was classical music, but I still had to hold the phone a good 2 feet away from my ear.  It made me want to cry.  I listened to the recording break in a good 20 times or more saying the representatives were helping others and please stay on the line.  After about 15 minutes, a real person got on, asked what my problem was, and said she would transfer me.

All ready to ask my question, I was interrupted by another recording that said due to the high volume of calls and the nature of my inquiry, I would have to call back another day.  Click.  I was just disconnected.  After wasting a good 20 minutes, they just hung up on me.  And I wasn’t even requiring them to think.  I was simply going to ask about some ideas I had to get around this stupid e-file snafu. WTF.

I know I’m taking a big chance here.  People don’t piss off the IRS or other government big shots (remember Joe the Plumber?) without invoking their wrath and possible IRS audits.  Being I’m not some politician with friends in high places, I should probably keep this all to myself.  But I can’t.  And so, as our ever-inefficient government steadily marches further toward communism, expect to see me in some gulag reserved for bloggers complaining about the IRS.  Maybe you can take up my cause.  Just do it anonymously.

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February 2009

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