"We’ll try to cooperate fully with the IRS, because, as citizens, we feel a strong patriotic duty not to go to jail." (Dave Barry)
Okay, so we all hate the IRS, right? But I’m beginning to seriously believe they hate me back!!! That is quickly followed by the thought that I have some doubts that they are organized or intelligent enough (as an entity) to have any sort of focused feeling or response about anything.
Let me explain. They audited us for 2003. That was a royal pain, but we survived, and all was well. The audit actually occurred in 2004, btw. In IRSland, everything happens a year later. So, fast forward to 2005. We file our taxes, and are supposed to get a pretty healthy refund for our Earned Income Credit. But no. They notify us that we do not qualify for EIC. Well, what that means in layman’s terms is that they do not believe we have children! In 2004, our children ranged between 15 and 7 years of age. These were not NEW children. We have claimed each of them every year since they were born, and the IRS never questioned their existence. Until now.
To complicate matters, we got the notice informing us that we didn’t have children right after our house burned down! So, now we no longer have any proof that we have children, unless you count grocery, clothing, education, medical, dental and activity bills. Never mind the children themselves! But we didn’t have the important stuff: birth certificates, because, of course, those burned.
And since our house had just burned, we were ah, sort of distracted, and so we didn’t get right on it with the IRS. So it took a few months, and then they started sending us nasty letters telling us we owed them the amount of our refund! So we spent HOURS on the phone (most of it on "hold") trying to work this out with them. On, not to worry, they told us. Just send in form "X" and we’ll take care of it. So we jumped through all the hoops. I hunted down birth certificates from three states, got copies of Social Security cards, filled out the right forms, and sent them in. But the nasy letters kept coming, via certified mail, no less.
Okay, so then we file our taxes for 2005. We claim our EIC again, just like we have been doing for 17 years now, and THIS year, they don’t question it at all. What they did do was take our refund and apply it to the amount they think we owe them from 2004. Clear as mud? The only think I am perfectly clear on is that they now owe us almost $3000!!
So, we give up, and hire a Tax Consultant (a friend of a friend) who used to work for the IRS, and knows firsthand how absolutely insane and impossible they can be. But she and her partner assure us that it shouldn’t be that big of a deal to get it all straightened out. Then she calls me yesterday to let me know that all is well, and the only thing the IRS needs from us now are transcripts from the children’s schools for 2004, to show that they lived at this address during that year. But we home school, and all our records burned! (The IRS knows we had a fire, we sent the freaking fire report to them, along with pictures of the burned house!) We have also provided them with Social Security card copies, birth certificate copies, even copies of Baptismal, Marriage and Communion records!
Now this MIGHT make some sense if Gaylon and I had ever been divorced or separated. But we’ve been married for over 20 years! To each other, no less. Honestly, where the heck do they think our children lived in 2004? Do they think the Mother Ship came and took them on a 52 week tour of a galaxy far, far away? Then they mysteriously all reappeared for the 2005 tax year?
So, our wonderful tax consultant called them back and explained that we are home schoolers (that has probably flagged us for some other abuse yet to be endured) and would savings account records for that year be acceptable? Well, yes, bank records will suffice. So I had to go down to the bank today and ask our banker for records of the children’s savings accounts for 2004. She was wonderful, and provided me with that, as well as documentation that those accounts have been open for over five years now. And all of those years the children have lived at the same address!
I hate dealing with stupid people. We all make mistakes, and we all have our "Here’s you sign" moments. But this is, in my opinion, verging on harassment! But maybe, just maybe, we really will eventually get all of our money, and we will be able to pay some bills, or go to the beach. I would really just like for them to GO AWAY and leave our family alone! But I am sure that’s probably just asking too much.