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June 6th, 2013

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09:33 pm - stories...
1: the IRS says hi.
So about a week ago our mail carrier dropped us off two little pink slips of paper, one for each of us, saying that we had certified mail awaiting our leisure at the post office.
From the IRS.
Now I don't know if you've ever received a letter from the IRS but I haven't, at least not one I've had to sign for, so my brain is going into overdrive trying to figure out what could be going on. What does getting audited mean, how much does it suck, etc etc. We had trouble actually getting to the post office when it was open, so for about a week my brain was idly angsting about these letters and what they'll mean.
Meg manages to pick them up, they're two big fat envelopes stuffed with papers. Didn't bode well. We pop them open and start decoding the bureaucratic nonsense. Eventually I manage to discover that all of this was because we owe them $0.17.
Yup. Seventeen cents.
I can't imagine how much they spent on those letters between time spent creating and collating, material costs, and two certified mailings, but I'm fairly confident that it adds up to an order of magnitude (or two) more than seventeen cents.

2: car shenanigans.
A brief history of the last few months: new shocks all around that required a cutting torch to remove the old ones, New tires purchased online after nearly skidding off a highway on-ramp in the rain, and at least two separate obnoxious noises noted.
I took the car to the garage next to work yesterday to get the tires installed, one of the noises fixed (since I know what it is) and the other noise investigated. I don't hear from them until about 2pm when I get a call from the mechanic over there.
"Hey, so that noise is because your ball joints are pretty much gone. I can't get parts for it until tomorrow. Were you... planning on driving this home tonight?"
"Yeah, I was going to..."
"Ah. Well...drive, uh, VERY carefully, ok?"
Now when a mechanic tells me that with that particular tone of voice, I take that shit seriously. I grabbed a ride home with a co-worker and left the car at work. Got it fixed today for lots of money. Whee.
On my way home it was great at first, but quickly started making a terrible metal on metal noise, loud enough that it startled a few bikers and was turning heads all through Somerville.
Get home, pop it up on ramps, check it out, and discover that it was just the dust shield rubbing on the rotor. Bend it out of the way and Bob's your uncle. (Which he is actually. Mine that is.)

Good times.

(Thought I had a third story but it's not coming to me. Later I guess.)

(19 bits of drivel | babble incoherently)


[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 02:04 am (UTC)
I am suddenly very glad you neglected to mention that bit about nearly going off an on-ramp in the rain...

Sorry for the continued shenanigans with the car, and.... 17 cents? Really? *boggles* Glad things are improved overall.
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 12:39 pm (UTC)
Heh, it wasn't really that big a deal, just fishtailed a bit in the rain. I pushed it around a few other corners after that to test and had no trouble, so I think it was at least in part because of a bad patch of road, or something oily on it there. Still, the tires were getting a bit bald and I already knew it was time for a new set.

I think we're nearly out of the woods with car repairs... having replaced most of the components after the transmission at this point. The engine and transmission haven't shown any signs of sadness *knock on wood*.
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 02:03 pm (UTC)
*nod* I've often wondered - at what point in the repair/replace process does it simply become a brand-new car? ;)
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 03:30 pm (UTC)
And that's the million dollar question that so many people wonder about. ^_^
[User Picture]
Date:June 9th, 2013 10:29 pm (UTC)
"...and if I had a million dollars..."

You wouldn't be (too) worried about certified letters from the IRS.
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 02:26 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, having been unemployed for three years and having lived off my IRA to help me get by, I ended up owing a fair amount in taxes. I've been working with the IRS now for years and they are surprisingly reasonable. They do the "I AM BIG AND SCARY" parts, but when you call, and you talk to a human, you will find out that the person on the other end is actually interested in working with you very nicely.

And I have an Uncle Bob, too!
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 12:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've heard that they're really not that bad to deal with, but the angst generated by it is still not insubstantial. ^_^
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 02:30 pm (UTC)
We once got a bill from them for about 100k. That was fun.
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 03:29 pm (UTC)
... ouch. *hugs*
Date:June 7th, 2013 07:00 am (UTC)
The thing is, a letter of "Hey, you made an error in your return!" is scary as shit if you don't realize what you're looking at.

I flipped a digit in a return some years back, and they sent me a very long list of "X said A, but You said B" - it gets even longer because the "X said" bits have to include name, address, account ID's and such - so you as a taxpayer can at least look at each entry and say either. "X is wrong" or "Yup, I flipped a digit." (And they included all the matching entries.)

That being said, the time that happened, it did not require signing for a letter.

Still leaves you with your stomach in your throat and your heart somewhere around your kidneys.
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 03:16 pm (UTC)
Oops, didn't realize I wasn't logged in on that one.
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 03:29 pm (UTC)
was wondering who that was. ;)
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 02:27 pm (UTC)
I am glad that both of these stories have happy endings!
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 03:29 pm (UTC)
meeee toooo!
[User Picture]
Date:June 7th, 2013 03:52 pm (UTC)

Good on you

Glad nothing too terrible happened with the car - that's scary stuff. I always tell the mechanic when I expect to get the car back as I'm dropping off so in case it's not gonna happen I can get a loaner or a ride.

As for the IRS thing, my Dad worked there for a few years so I kind of know how this works. The details are boring, but here's the gist:

They run all returns through a bunch of algorithms that spit out things for review. Then the stuff gets graded and sorted and generally anything that looks like it'll result in a minimal change or less than $X money going in to the government doesn't get dealt with. However, if it looks like the government owes you anything, even a penny, or you might end up owing the gov't more than $X they start the process.

Once it's started it has to go through to its conclusion, which they're required to notify you about. In my case I had a pair of errors that offset and with dollar-rounding the result was that I owed an additional $0. I'm curious why they didn't apply dollar rounding in your case.

It's like any heuristic, though, and some percentage of the returns that do get re-examined end up being ones that shouldn't have kicked out in the first place. False positives, if you will. But since the gov't has started to muck with your return they're legally obliged to tell you that. This kind of makes sense because can you imagine how bad things could get if the IRS was allowed to muck with taxpayer returns and NOT tell people what they'd done? Yeah.
(Deleted comment)
Date:June 15th, 2013 02:06 am (UTC)


Glad all's well and happy to hear that your car is in good shape again. We got a scary IRS thing last year, too, claiming that we owed them $75,000.00 dollars. Ummm, no. It took about 8 rounds of letters but they finally agreed with us. Not a fun bunch of papers to sort through! Glad yours was only .17 but totally agree on the WTF use of resources...!
Date:June 15th, 2013 02:07 am (UTC)

Re: Yikes.

That was from your sister. Who can't figure out how to log in properly, apparently.
[User Picture]
Date:April 13th, 2014 05:56 am (UTC)

; )

the third story is the tax money it cost to pay the irs to find your 17 cents could have fixed your car, or more likely even paid for a new one! what's wrong with this picture?
; ?

IRS is not US
; P
stories... - another LJ. or: how i learned to stop worrying and love this life-thingy

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