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IRS adventures

I went to the closest local office of the IRS today. It's in Santa Maria, about 35 miles from where I live, in an anonymous office building.

I went there of my own accord, to find some things out. I wanted to find out the status of my many tax returns - how much do I owe and what years. And I wanted to know how to release a lien they put on my property years ago.

Of course it wasn't all that simple to find out the answers.

Fortunately, there weren't many "customers" today. This office has a little machine with labeled buttons. When you come into the office, you choose the button next to the label that most closely describes the reason for your visit. In my case, "tax questions". I pressed the button and a little number slip printed out. It's a more elaborate "take a number" machine. It wasn't long before I got in to talk to someone.

The woman I spoke with printed out the information on the taxes that I am paying off in installments - 2001. The way the IRS calculates what is owed,though, doesn't show everything. So I was not able to see how much money they took from my credit union and my ING accounts. Their accounting system is not like any other, and it's frustrating because it is difficult to see how they come up with what they do.

I asked her if there were any other taxes due. The unfortunate answer here was really, "I don't know". She noted that I did not file my 1997 tax return. But she was unable to determine if I actually owed anything for 1997. I have to fill out a form to get some information and then, I assume,file that return. My memory is that I did pay it, when they simply estimated it.  I figured what the hell,I'll pay their estimate and  they'll leave me alone. But that was many years ago and now she can't figure out if I paid anything or not. I'm beginning to think their record-keeping is worse than mine.

And about the lien. I didn't know what year and she couldn't tell from my records. I have to go to the county recorder to dig out a copy. The lien may have already been released.  If not, I can bring it with me to confirm that it's paid and then request that it be released.

The experience wasn't bad. I wasn't tight in the stomach as I usually am when I deal with this agency. I wasn't dreading going there. I just wanted the information so I can make some progress. Mainly in improving my credit. I got enough info to make some moves and maybe get a thing done. It was okay,  really, just, in its inimitable way, weird.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 25th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
I hate red tape.
Hope you get this all squared away soon enough and I hope you take it in stride, which it sounds like you are. Dealing with it, asking questions and working to put it behind you is the best way to go, I think.

I have a crappy credit score too....well, it's crappy to me. I had someone open a credit card account in my name way back when, and they charged stuff and never paid the bills. I was hounded by collectors to the point I hired an attorney. The hounding stopped and I have tried to get that debt removed from my record but it's like trying to squeeze water from a rock. I finally just said screw it and my husband and I decided we'd let the time limits run their course, get rid of all our credit cards and just do cash. I decided years ago I will never let some agency have any control over me in regard to my spending or not spending money. I know not everyone can live like I do but being a cash cow (heehee)so to speak, in that I don't charge anything has empowered me in a sense. I feel very liberated from the system.

Credit scores put defining labels on people and if the reports are erroneous the score is too....just more red tape. I won't be defined by a credit score.
May. 25th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, I am taking the right course and I am calm about it. I think that's mainly because I know I can get past this. That is, I have the resources, both financial and otherwise.

For a long time I was credit-free. But a little over a year ago things snowballed. My brother got sick and I needed to be near him, then an opportunity to go to New York came along. I decided to use my good credit (it was good not that long ago!) to get a card or two to give me the chance to be where I needed to be when I needed to be there.

I am now in the process of whittling down those credit card balances. I don't see a problem in getting that done.

The main reason I want clean credit now is to buy a house. I need a good credit rating so I can get a good loan. So that's why I'm tracking down the IRS records and trying to clear my good name! My last two times talking to these folks have really been fine.

Several years ago I owed some back taxes and an IRS guy kept calling me to try to set up appointments. I had no money, no way I knew to get those taxes paid, and his calls were frightening. He had that tone of voice that belongs in a horror movie. I would shiver when I heard it. I will never forget it.

But! Fortunately, the agents I've spoken to recently have been human.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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