Monday, September 12, 2005

Friendly IRS

The IRS has changed over the last fifty years.

Back in 1950, I was faced with paying taxes for the first time. In the year 1949 I had worked for the six months after college graduation. Prior to that, for the first half of the year my wife had a job working for a grant based-foundation run by a professor at the college. I was going to be conscientious about this tax thing and went over everything very, very carefully. I had known that my wife and several other employees on occasion had been given extra pay checks by the professor on the understanding that they would cash them and give the money back to the professor. We had kept records so I calmly deducted those amounts from our tax return and sent a polite and naive letter with the return explaining how the extra checks weren’t really income and so we weren’t going to pay tax on them. Ah, youth! (Please understand the amount of money involved was only large in the eyes of a couple making $263 a month.)

Several weeks later I received a friendly, personal (honest) letter from someone at the IRS explaining how they were obligated to use the information they received from the employer and not the employee’s records. He advised me to write the college and ask for a revised W2 form based on my info and resubmit to the IRS. In the meanwhile, this fellow suggested I pay the full tax and then ask for a rebate when I sent in the new W2.

It sounded logical, so I did just that. I sent my data to the college and asked for a new W2. Again I received a friendly reply, saying they would look into it. That, however, was the last I heard directly in response to my letter. About four months later I went to a large convention. At the college cocktail party, the dean stood up on a chair and gave an update on what was new at school. Among the items was the appointment of a new director of the foundation my wife had worked for and the resignation from the faculty of the former head. Thou shalt not cheat.

1 comment:

east village idiot said...

Great story! Justice prevails.

My husband is the most squeaky clean tax preparing citizen in the land...and of's killing us! But I guess we won't die in jail.