Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Big Oops

I try hard to live my life on the straight and narrow. Always have. I've avoided run-ins with authorities, only picked up a couple traffic tickets in over 40 years of driving, and never even considered cheating on my taxes.

So why am I getting an official letter from the Internal Revenue Service? That's what arrived in the mail last Friday. This looked serious too. For one, it was a fairly fat envelope. Oh, oh. And peeking through the window on the envelope, I could see "official business" written on one of the letters within.

I've always done my taxes myself. Filled out all the forms by hand, double-checked, triple checked, read and re-read the instructions. Wouldn't consider using H.R. Block or even one of those Turbo Tax programs you buy in the store. I've never had a problem as a do-it-yourselfer.

Until now.

Reading through the letter, I quickly focused on the crux of the matter. I owed another thousand dollars, they said. What?? How is this possible? They tacked on interest too and this didn't involve my 2010 tax return I had filled out earlier this year. It concerned my 2009 tax return done LAST year.

It took a few times reading through their technical explanation of my misdemeanor to glean what had occurred. Uh, incidentally that's misdemeanor in the generic sense, not the legal sense (I hope). I knew it wasn't like I'd forgotten to report the profits from my uranium mine in Tanganyika.

Ummm, for the record, I don't have a uranium mine in Tanganyika. I don't need to dig myself any deeper here.

In my zeal to sock away as much money as I could towards my retirement, I had over-contributed to my Individual Retirement Account, by several thousand dollars. I had misinterpreted "phased out" in the instructions as meaning something that was going to happen in the future. Nope. It meant that because I already had a retirement plan at work, the amount I could contribute to my IRA was being "phased out" because of my income.

Wonderful. In a sense, the government considers me and Wendy to be too wealthy (??!!) to qualify fully for an individual retirement account. That's hard to believe for someone like me who counts every penny and rides his bike around trying to spot spare change. As an aside, I found two dollar bills in separate rides this past weekend. About 993 more rides like that, and I'll be square with the IRS.

I called the IRS up and wasn't too sure that I received the full scoop of what I need to do next. I talked to a tax adviser who said you may get a different answer each time you call the IRS on something like this. So Wendy and I head to the bank that has our IRA tomorrow. Hopefully, they can steer me back unto the straight and narrow.

I'm not too confident about that though. We might have already gone too far down the path to the dark side. Remember the Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde. Maybe some day it will be the Ballad of Dave and Wendy.


Blogger Peter said...

I see what you meant when you had problems with the IRS Dave, hope it all sorts out OK for you.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

I don't want to say anything here that might incriminate me. The IRS might be reading your blog and all.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ Sorry you have a problem and hope you can sort it out to your
satisfaction. You were only trying to save for your retirement and congrats on doing your tax yourself all those years. I used to do mine too. And if all that wasn't enough
the debit card wouldn't work !!!
Glad you liked the joke about the guy who wanted to join the church.
Thanks for the kind words about my family (even Nick). When I was going from hospital to Rehab, I wondered what that would entail. Nick said "It's sure to be push-ups Grandma." We have 6 months of Daylight saving and six without. I was surprised you had a month to gc. Take care and the best
of luck my friend, Regards, Merle.

3:09 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

Gilda Radner, bless her sense of the obvious, her "It's always something" seems to fit this little blip as well.

Good luck with this Dave. (( ))

12:02 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

PETER--I do too, Peter. This is new territory for me.

JAN--See, I knew there's a reason I remain semi-anonymous in this blog. Plausible deniability.

MERLE--So your grandson told you that you would have to do push-ups? That's pretty funny. I'm not sure I could do push-ups if it were part of my rehab.

CARINE--It always does seem like it's something. Wish I could get through a week with nothing. Or, something like that.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Yoga in Mirrormont said...

I'm sorry for you, Dave and Wendy;
(Tears well up, as upon learning of a MICHIGAN victory.)
And, I expect you to feel sorry for me:
13 kids makes us pinch pennies and dip stale bread in tea,
And then the IRS slaps us with the AMT.
Alternative Minimum Tax, my ischial tuberosities!
Rather, Awfully Mean Tax snaring large families!
It's enough to make me burn a couch or at least some magazines;
But there's nothing that could ever make me cheer for your Wolverines!
Did you have to mention Bonnie and Clyde?
(Who robbed and killed 13 and then were shot and died.)
Sorry to be so negative,
All moanins and cryins,
We have one good reason to share a smile:

8:20 AM  
Blogger Yoga in Mirrormont said...

Er, rather 11 kids. It just seems like more sometimes.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

YOGA IN MIRRORMONT--Wondered if you were lurking afoot with the big game this weekend. But I know you're busy keeping count, er, track of the kids.

Yeah, go Lions! Hea, did you see the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams tonight? He mentioned the success we're having around here with the sports teams, specifically the Tigers in the World Series, the undefeated Lions, the 2-0 Red Wings and the 6-0 Michigan Wolverines. He didn't mention the Spartans.

5:18 PM  

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