Thursday, April 23, 2009

Taxing Situation

I knew the letter wasn't going to be good before I opened it.

Sort of like when you were waiting for that college acceptance letter. A thin envelope was bad news. In today's case, it was from the IRS and the letter was fat.

I opened it. According to some yahoo in our federal government, I owe several thousand dollars from 2007 Federal income tax. Basically, someone needs a new hammer and they want me to pay for it.

My first reaction was one of fear. Holy crap, my tax guy messed up. I can't afford to pay this. Does he guarantee his work? What are we going to do?

However, as this matter has stewed a little, my fear has turned to anger. There are interest charges of 131, 92, 92 and 76 days. There are no penalities, but a bunch of warnings in the letter that they are next if I don't resolve this quickly. Isn't there a statute of limitations for tax refunds? And, what the hell are they picking on me for? I pay my taxes, I don't go out of my way to find bullshit exemptions, I work hard, I'm not asking for a handout or a bailout, I support my local church and I'm not defaulting on my mortgage or my credit card debt - what gives?

I finally read through the documentation closely. Admittedly, I don't understand half of it. However, it seems as though the government is stating that I didn't prove my charitible contributions for the year. When they reduce my contributions, my tax burden goes up. The letter states, "

Since you did not establish that the amounts shown were (a) contributions, and (b) were paid, the amounts are not deductible.

Ok - I think I know what they are saying. So, since I am the type to save every receipt since the inception of the cash register, I go into my files and voila - I find my 2007 return and all supporting material. I have the receipt from church stating that my contributions were, in fact, the very amount that the IRS is questioning.

So, tomorrow, I'll call my tax guy. I'll discuss it with him and we'll appeal their adjustment. And, with luck, we'll tell the IRS where to go. Who says you can't take on city hall?

I'm just thankful that the yahoo who reviewed my return doesn't work for something important, like the TSA.


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