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Saturday
Sep032016

Dressed to Grill: Tenderloin for when the IRS comes calling

I work at home.  That might sound glamourous but its really pretty grimy.  There are weeks when I don't leave the house for 3 and 4 days.  Sitting at my desk, in my sweats, no make-up, you get it.  I clean up nice on the weekends, though.

The other morning, I'm sitting at my desk, my phone rings, and when I pick up it up, its the Internal Revenue Service.  

Pre-recorded:  This is the Internal Revenue Service and we are bringing suit against you for non-payment of taxes. Please call this number:  213-590-XXXX.  Click.

Normally, I would have hung up on whatever telemarketer calls my phone.  Not a word, I just hang up.

But a couple years ago, I actually did get a letter from the IRS saying that I owed them money.  It was addressed to a company I had never heard of, but sent to my mailing address.

After staring at this letter most of the day, I finally realized that the FEIN (that's Federal Entity Identification Number) was one digit different than mine.

Someone at the IRS fat-fingered the FEIN number, and sent a letter to a company that presumable does owe them money, but my address came up in their data base when they entered my FEIN to do the lookup.

I dutifully called the IRS (800-TAX-1040, if you don't know), recited the reference number to the agent, and then tried to explain what I thought had happened, but the Agent got a bit terse with me. 

IRS:  I can't give you any tax information if you are not the party of record.  

Me:  I'm not asking for tax information, I'm trying to get the record corrected.

IRS:  Click

After several tries, I gave up.  

Several weeks later, I get a postal notice of a registered letter from the IRS.  Well, not for me, for that poor company who actually does owe the IRS money, and doesn't know it.

I tried the IRS again.  Same thing.  As soon as I tell them I am not the owner of the company, they clam up.

Since then, I get one of those postal notices about every 6 months.  Wonder what the penalties and interest is now?  I Googled the name of the company, but couldn't find them.

Fast forward, I'm sitting at my desk and I get this recorded announcement.  

My first thought is how much of my life is going to now be devoted to straightening out this mess.

I call the number in the recording.  A young man with a heavy accent identified himself as James Jones, Badge Number:  DL13850, and then confirms my name and address.

IRS:  I'm going to give you a reference number and I'm going to read the charges against you.  Do not interrupt me.

Me:  What charges are you talking about?  I haven't been notified of any charges.

IRS:  We have been trying to reach you.  For the years 2010 to 2014 your taxes don't match our records and you owe us $5,906.56.  Did you do this deliberately?

Me:  How have you been trying to reach me?  I haven't any record of the IRS sending me anything.  What documents do you have?

IRS:  We don't have them anymore, they have now gone to the vault in Washington, DC.

Me:  When did you try to reach me?

IRS:  We attempted to reach you at your home last Friday.  The Post Office attempted to deliver the documents to you, but no one was home.

Me:  I work at home.  I was home all day last Friday.  (Quick check of my Outlook Calendar confirms this.)

IRS:  No one came to the door.

Me:  I happen to personally know our mail carrier and if she came to the door, I would have seen her out the window of my office.  No one came to the door.

IRS:  If you don't pay this money, we will take away your license and all of your belongings.

Me:  I have the right to see the documents you have, I have no documents saying I owe you money.

IRS:  Well, then we'll have the Sheriff come to your house and we'll do a background check.

Me:  What?  What are you talking about?  When is this Sheriff coming to my house?

IRS:  Within 30 minutes of this phone call ending.  So you better get dressed!!

Me:  What is this Sheriff going to do?

IRS:  Take you into custody, so you had better call your family and let them know you are going to jail!!

Me:  Jail?  You can't take me to jail without me seeing your documents!

IRS:  And you better bring your lawyer!

Me:  I don't have a lawyer!

IRS:  Well, don't you think you better get on it?  Click.

I actually broke out into a cold sweat.  I could see myself calling my husband, my hair dresser, and my client and telling them I wasn't going to make my appointments.  Fear had taken over.  And Panic was quickly setting in.

I called my Accountant.  

Me (nearly in tears):  Dean, I just got this horrible call from the IRS saying they were going to send the Sheriff to take me into custody and . . .

Dean:  Before you go any further, let me stop you right there.  Its a SCAM!

Me (now that I can breath again), OMG, really?

Dean:  Yup, its been going on for a couple of years now.  You didnt give them any of your information, did you?

Me:  Thankfully, I did not.

All I could think of was, "How did the IRS know I wasn't dressed?"  Next time, I'll be dressed and have something special for when they come calling.  How about Grilled Tenderloin and Blue Cheese Butter?

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