Tax Issues are Here at Home too

Local Hard-Working Falmouthite Faced with Irony of IRS

With all the news of prominent people in power having their tax troubles swirling around us, this offering came from a friend and dedicated public servant here in Falmouth.  His story will amaze you:

In 1995, I was visiting my parents when I found a letter from the IRS addressed to me. I was not living at my parents' house at the time.   The letter from the IRS alleged those five years earlier, I had made an addition mistake on my tax return and the IRS had overpaid me $250.  The IRS now wanted their money back with penalties and interest which amounted to $2,500.  I was shocked to say the least, because I doubt organized crime gets that kind of return on their money. According to the IRS letter, I had one week to pay up or face additional civil fines and criminal penalties.  I telephoned the IRS numerous times that week and spoke to a different agent each time.  I could never reach the same agent and every agent told me to do something completely different in regards to how I should comply with the IRS allegations.  One agent told me to ignore the letter, another threatened me with imprisonment, yet another told me that I could pay half and they would forgive the rest, and the last agent I spoke to told me to pay everything or face criminal charges.  Before I sent them their payoff, I looked for and couldn't find my tax return for that specific year they alleged that I was overpaid $250.  I know we are supposed to keep these tax papers around for ever, but I lost it during one of my several moves within those five years.  The IRS would not send me a copy of my return which I found very suspicious.  I sent them a check to get them off of my back and they finally went away. I contacted my Congressional Representative, John Olver and the person I spoke to said that they had received several similar complaints from citizens.  The call taker said that their office was investigating allegations that the IRS had merely sent out these threatening letters to random tax payers to see what the compliance rate would be.  Since I couldn't find my papers from five years earlier, I had no way of knowing if I was in the wrong or not.  I was promised a return follow up telephone call from the Representative's office which never came. Now I see no change in Washington.  The new boss is the same as the old boss. I see Representative Charles B. Rangel, who writes our tax law absconding on his tax payments and paying no penalties or interest to the IRS.  Another tax scoff-law gets appointed by President Obama to head the Treasury Department which controls the IRS and former Senator Tom Daschle, who has his IRS tax problems, was considered for an appointment to President B.H. Obama's Cabinet.  It seems Daschle thinks all he needs to do is apologize.  I wish the IRS had allowed me to do that even though it has never been proven to me that I did anything wrong! I only ask President Obama, Senators Kennedy and Kerry and Representative Delahunt to please throw us "Little guys" a bone and show us that the beautiful people, the powerful and t he elite are held to the same standard as Joe Six Pack and the working man whom they claim to care so much about.  Support the Rangel Amendment in Congress which states that the tax payer should be treated the same as any Congressman when dealing with the IRS.  The lesson I have learned form all of this is:  The lager government gets, the less the individual matters, so remember to keep your papers in order, lest some government agent asks you to present them for inspection.  That is, unless of course, you are a Congressman, Senator or an elite beautiful person.


Scott R. Hartzler                                                               

MonizWay Teaticket, MA

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