Taxing Tomfoolery

I just completed my taxes today and as usual, I’m going to have to take a long soak in the hot tub to put a dent in the stress.

I had a couple of questions that I wasn’t able to answer for myself by reading the instructions and pouring through their mammoth website, so I optimistically called the IRS. The first person I was connected to introduced herself with a number (that I diligently transcribed) and spent a few minutes looking through her information before deciding I wasn’t in her area of expertise. She was helpful and patched me through to the next person that would be able to answer my question.

Soooo, the next person comes on the line and after obediently writing down his ID number he started to answer the first part of my question. I apologized for interrupting him and explained that I’d need to explain the second part of my question in order to be sure he understood the first part. He reluctantly waited while I spilled my tale of woe, only to start reading the same answer to me that he’d begun the first time. I chuckled and said, “But, didn’t (factor X) make a difference in the way you’d answer me?”

He patiently replied that he was required to read the same thing in answer before looking up more information that would answer my question. OK. We went through the entire menu of questions he needed answered.
THEN we finally got to the meat of the situation and after a few moments of checking (I could hear the keys clicking on his computer) he informed me he’d need to send me back to the first department I’d spoken with.

After being transferred back to Department A and going through the list of mandatory questions/answers I was informed I needed to go back to the second department I’d spoken with.

At this point I laughed out loud. Literally. I really did.

Another 15-20 minutes later I finally got transferred to a third department, I’ll call it Department Z. Yes, you guessed it, I had to go through a menu of proscribed questions before I could have any questions answered. This person explained how each department can only deal with a specific type of question and since my ‘problem’ involved several areas that is why I had to keep being shuffled from person to person.

Yes, this Dept. Z person was apparently a veteran in the IRS scheme of things, because I received a sensible answer and even understood it! Oh, but all was not solved by that point.

You guessed it, I had to be transferred back to Department A. OK. I just verified the information I thought I understood and was pleased to find out I actually understood it. (Now THAT definitely scared me … the fact I understood anything having to do with the IRS at all.)

After all this – yes, I spent an entire hour of my life on the phone with one IRS person after another – I was left with a page full of IRS employee ID numbers, notes, scribbles, and evidence of a broken pencil lead, but at least I wrote everything down!

My envelope is now sealed and tomorrow I’ll send it on its way to the IRS service center, otherwise known as the Inane Rubbish Society.

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