I run my own business and yesterday I got a certified letter from the IRS saying I had an outstanding balance on my tax payment from last year. I probably don't have to tell you that the letter was a little threatening in its tone.
I've decided that I'll consider the rest of this story of my interaction with the IRS to be hilarious rather than painful. So, here goes.
I knew I had paid this. I knew the check number and date it had been sent. I even checked and yes, the check had been cashed. Even so, I thought I'd better call and be sure they had corrected the error.
I call the 800 number. I spend 3 minutes punching all my info into the automated phone system. I wait patiently through 15 minutes on hold. When the IRS agent finally answered (No 'hello, this is Marcy, how I can help you today?') she had an attitude. I'll spare you the details, but it ended up with her "terminating" my call because at one point I said "Well, damn, I didn't know that was what you were asking me for!" I got cut off for using the word "Damn". If I'd known I would be cut off, I wouldn't have wasted my offensive language with 'damn', there are much better words.
So off I go to my local IRS office. This is where it gets really bizarre!
As soon as I walk in the door, the security guard, who is sitting chatting with one of the customers, says to me in a rapid fire monotone "any weapons, cell phone, cameras or recording devices?" Um, a cell phone, I answer. "You've got to turn it off, no cell phones allowed." Um, ok, and hello to you, too.
I take a number from the weird machine that makes you choose a "reason" why you're there before it spits out your number. Now, there are only 2 other people in the waiting room besides me. My number, 502. I look at the "now serving" light and it says 957. WTF? I immediately think I must be in that waiting room from Beetlejuice or something.
The next number is called and one of the two women goes into the cubicle not 12 ft from where I'm sitting. The TV in the waiting room is on the Spike TV channel. Just about every surface of the walls are covered by posters and notices that say "No Weapons" "No Cell Phones" "No Cameras or Recording Devices" in multiple languages (even Japanese, I swear!).
The woman now leaves the cubicle and it turns out the other lady is with her, so I'm next! But before she leaves, the security guard returns her box cutter. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!
Now I'm alone with the security guard and the one lone IRS agent in the cubicle 12 feet away. Ding, the "next served" number changes to 502 (that's me!). I decide it is completely ridiculous to post my number on the electronic sign when I'm the ONLY person in the waiting room, and he can clearly see this. So I decide to mess with him. (I know, this is what got me terminated the last time).
I sit there. "Number 502" he calls out. I look at my number slip, I look at the sign announcing my number is next, I look back at my number slip. I sit there. "Number 502! 502, is that You?!? You're next, wake up!"
Tee-hee-hee . . . .
Trying to be friendly, I ask if he's ever seen the movie Beetlejuice. "Yes" he says. "Your waiting room reminds of the waiting room in Beetlejuice," I say with a laugh. He just stares at me. So I hand over my ID and paperwork. It takes him exactly 45 seconds to pull up my record and confirm that the error has been corrected. Then he says "Oh, Beetlejuice! I know what you're talking about now" and kinda chuckles.
This one is a real Einstein, I think but do not say out loud. On my way out through the empty waiting room, I pass the seated security guard who is now playing on his cell phone.
"No Cell Phones!" I bark and am pleased to see I startle him a little.
Tee, hee, hee . . .