Hey gang, good to see ya’all. Hope all is well out there in Reader Land! Well, here we are again…it’s late Thursday night and Kayce’s wound up about stupidity yet one more time. So, let’s get to it! Enjoy!
Okay, let’s be clear. The stupidity in this story is on both sides…first I was stupid…then they were stupid back. But I like to think they were more stupid than me, so please humor me. The “they” in this equation is none other than our very own IRS, and my hope is that writing the truth won’t get me thrown into IRS hell. But ya’all know I just can’t leave stupid alone. If it’s sittin’ on the fence starin’ at me, I gotta poke it with a stick. Gotta! It’s a rule.
So, what happened was that I got lazy about paying them the $3K I owed because all that tax-free money I saved all those years isn’t quite so free when it’s coming back to me in retirement. In fact, they are taxing the hell out of it—along with every other penny I make. So, if you’ve heard that you don’t have to pay taxes on social security income, that’s dead wrong. It’s only right if you are drawing enough that you have to live with your children just to pay your cable bill. Wait… that’s a bad comparison…my cable bill used to give my house payment a good run for its money…hence, the antennae on the top of the house and the discarded receivers stacked in my garage because I refuse to pay to throw them away.
To make my point, let’s choose something smaller than a cable bill—cell phone. Oh, no, that won’t work either. Uh…gas? No. Food? No. Newspaper? No. Anyone having the Phoenix newspaper delivered lately? I miss the days when you could get the Wednesday paper for $.25!
Okay, so I got lost. The point is that my tax bill is ridiculous. As a single person, I cannot begin to use that many services, but the agency is all powerful, so I rail against the injustice by dragging my feet on paying. Bad form, I know. Did you forget the part about how I was stupid first? Anyway, I was. I filed, I owed, I dragged my feet. Now they send me a pink slip from the post office to tell me I have to take off work and drive 15 miles to pick up a letter from them. Why don’t they get Amazon to deliver those letters? They bring everything to my door!
So, now I’m annoyed and I refuse to take off work and blow the gas it will take to drive, then stand in line only to get a letter that tells me I have to pay. I know that already. What I can’t remember is how much I’ve already paid.
So, I’ve dragged my feet and lodged my useless (think ‘stupid’ here) protest. It’s now time to pay the piper. But I won’t drive. Instead, I go online and pull up the website and I see they have the option to set up an online account to get your information.
Perfect! Count me in.
I follow the instructions to the T—enter first name and last exactly as it appears on your last tax return. I have the return in front of me, so there are no mistakes. I do dither for a moment because the tax return asks for my middle initial, while the online account setup does not. Seems like a disconnect to the retired IT professional. Oh well, I’m following their instructions exactly because I know how the IRS loves their instructions.
Now I enter my address…and this is where it gets a little tricky…do I enter the “th” after the “6”? Do I spell out Street or just put “St”? I follow the tax return and type it exactly as shown. City…I got this. State…drop down makes it a piece of cake. Zip…hmmm, is that the 5-digit zip or the 9-digit zip? Follow the tax return.
You get the gist…I’m not taking any chances.
I enter my birthdate and social security number. Then it asks me for one of my credit card numbers. Seriously? I hesitate a moment, double-check the URL, confirm it IS the IRS. So, I enter the credit card number I use the most. Then I hit enter, expecting it to then open the big iron gates to the inner sanctum of my personal tax information—and my balance due.
Nope. It tells me I have entered the wrong credit card number. WTF? It’s my favorite card, I have the number memorized, I never leave home without it, I know it’s the right card. You mean to tell me the IRS doesn’t have a record of my favorite card? I think it just became an even bigger favorite! But what do I do now? Do I just guess my way through my entire inventory of credit cards? Should I use my Home Depot Card? Kohl’s? What card does the IRS want? Apparently, that part is a secret because no matter how much I scream at the computer screen, it just sits there staring back at me…accusing me of being WRONG!
I take a deep breath and try again with another card…my third favorite…because I was pissed and refused to give them my second favorite. They don’t need ALL of my favorites. I enter the card number, double-check that nothing else got wiped out, and hit enter, this time certain the iron gates would swing open wide.
Nope. It accuses me of having made a mistake on what I entered. Seriously? No way, Jose. I know my personal information, I was careful as hell, I was right. I scream at the computer, “I’m right. The IRS is wrong.”
I scream a little while, threaten to skip the computer across my pasture, then settle in to make sure all the data is right. This time I re-enter everything on every line by copying and pasting from the tax return to the online form. By God, it’s right this time. Hit enter.
Nope. This time I get a message that says because I entered something wrong, I can no longer play on their field. Wait 24 hours and try again.
WTF? I’m the one with the right data. If what I entered doesn’t match what they have, THEY are wrong. LET ME IN!!! At this point, I am screaming and pounding on the computer. The IRS is unnervingly calm. They ain’t right.
Nothing to do but wait 24 hours. So, the next day, I try again…the problem is, I didn’t look at the time the day before, so I don’t know when my 24 hours is up. Oh well, I know the sun was up when it happened, so I’ll try again now and if they won’t let me in, I’ll wait and try again after dark, when I know it’s been 24 hours.
Nope. Won’t let me in. I have made an error, they accuse…wait 24 hours. Is that 24 hours from yesterday’s try or from now? I don’t know. So, I wait. Dark comes. I try again.
Nope. You have made an error…wait 24 hours.
The dogs outside are barking because they hear me screaming in the house and they think I’m being slaughtered. At this point, I begin to search for a phone number to the webmaster or tech support. Nope…they don’t want you calling their tech support or the web guy unless you are trying to e-file. I search high and low and cannot find any number I’m allowed to use. I’m in a catch-22. The people in charge of this process cannot be reached by any mere mortal, they won’t tell me which field I have incorrectly answered, I only get one chance per day of fixing it, and let’s not forget that they’ve already rejected my favorite credit card. Now I have to guess at what information to enter…and I have to freaking get it perfect or they won’t tell me what to fix again! Seriously? That seems like a good process to the IRS? These are the people who are in charge of so much of my money? And I have to pay them every year? I have to freaking pay to be treated like this?
So, it is at this point that I give up and decide to call the main number, knowing I’ll be on hold for at least a half hour.
Nope. An hour and a half on hold. I was honestly on hold so long that I’d look up every once in a while, and wonder why the hell my phone was playing music. It was about two seconds of pure bliss…then I would remember. I’m on hold for the IRS. I visibly aged while I held! When the guy finally answered, we got the issue of the balance resolved…but he wasn’t the right guy to help me set up the online account, and he didn’t know who was.
Thank you, Mr. IRS!
So, there it is…I was stupid first, then they were stupid most. I did finally manage to get an online account set up the next day when I was able to, at last, guess everything correctly. I understand that my information is personal, and they need to protect things like my social security number, but I don’t understand the Fort Knox level security requiring a credit card just for setting up an online account. Are they afraid someone who already has my name, address, AND social security number is going to set up an online account and pay my bill?
That’s my story, stinky and spastic, and I’m stickin’ to it. Hang on real tight now, ‘cuz we’re gonna go real, real fast!