Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Okay. Here's a story about the IRS. I know everyone hates the IRS, so I won't go into that, or maybe I will. A little. But suffice it to say for now that I think their customer service is a little lacking.

So, we owe some taxes. I really don't want to go into that either, but suffice it to say that we do. Owe some taxes.

So, I called up the number printed on the letter that was mailed to us about how we need to call and make a payment immediately or we will hang on death's doornail, and got this pretty nice lady on the phone in a relatively short amount of time, and I'm thinking, "Wow. This isn't so bad. The IRS lady is nice."

She tells me that I have the option of setting up a payment plan if I'm not able to pay the full amount all at once "immediately" and that I can go online to set up said payments. What she didn't tell me, though, is that once you set up the payment plan online with EFTPS, whatever the heck that stands for, and which is a process in and of itself, you then have to be mailed a pin number--in the mail--which takes 7 to 10 business days in order to be able to access the account and pay your monthly installment online. With EFTPS.

She does, however, ask me which day of the month I would like the monthly installments to be due. I pick the 15th of each month.

But silly me, I get online to set up my EFTPS account a week early, in order to pay my monthly installment a week in advance, only to find out that I have no pin with which to verify my account, and that it will be mailed to me and I can be sure of its delivery no sooner than 3 days after my first payment is due.


So I get back on the phone.

It rings. It answers. It puts me on hold. I pray under my breath, "Oh please, oh please let me get the nice IRS lady again."

It's a dude.

A dude who thinks he's a brainiac.

A dude who has to condescend to my lowly level of humanity.

I suck it up. This is the IRS, after all. I don't want to get in trouble with "the man," especially since I'm already screwed.

Okay, let me back up. On the paperwork there is a number for business accounts and a number for personal accounts. I was especially careful to call the number related to personal accounts because if I'm going to be on eternal hold, I like to know that I'm on the right eternal hold, capice?

So. Dude picks up and asks me with his 20-something-I-am-the-Man authority voice whether he can help me. I mean, really don't you hate that? "Can I help you?" Well, gee, I certainly hope so.

I tell Dude that I have a problem because I have previously set up an installment agreement, for which I need to make a payment by the 15th of the month, but when I went to set up my EFTPS account, I found out that the pins are sent by mail, "Oh, yes, and they take 7 to 10 business days, at the least," he interrupts, and I cringe because he clearly thinks I'm an idiot, and I say, "Yes, and so I am hoping to make a payment today by phone in order to avoid having a late payment, while I wait for my pin to arrive."

Then Dude seems to fumble a bit and says, "Okay, yes, well, let's see what we can do then. You would like to make a phone payment now so your payment will be on time."


"Okay, yes, well, then. Do you have your TIN number?"

I stop. Crap. I called the wrong number. I've been talking to Dude and I must've called the business line. Crap. Crap. Crap.

"Oh, I'm sorry," I rush, "Did I call the business line?" Why else would he ask for my TIN, rather than the SSN of the primary taxpayer on the married filing jointly account? "I didn't mean to call the business line, or did I? Is this the business line or the personal line? Because I don't have a TIN."

Dude sneers, "Yes, you do. Everyone does. Everyone has a TIN, they're called Social Security Numbers."

Uh. No double-duh, Sherlock. Except they're not called TIN's. They're called SSN's. A TIN is clearly a Tax Identification Number and although individuals can hold TIN's, they are typically used by businesses. And a SSN, or Social Security Number, is the identifier of the individual tax payer.

I really and truly give myself major props for not saying that exact thing to Dude, because I certainly thought it.

Instead, I stifled actual laughter because this phone call was turning out to be exactly what I expected it to be! And really, what is that, if not comical?

What I actually said was, "Of course, yes, I have my Social Security Number right here."

I told Dude my husband's SSN and then he got all Mr.-Proper-Protocol-gotta-read-from-the script again with me and said, "Okay, yes. Then, yes. And...? For what year is the tax period?"

Wow. "2009. 12. It says December of 2009." It's actually sort of scary that I actually knew what he was talking about, considering his syntax.

Dude: "Ah. Yes. And. Uh. The type of return?"

I had to flip my page over, "Um, 1040."

Dude: "Yes, okay. 1040. And, what is the tax period?"


"It's 2009. December of 2009." At this point I'm questioning everyone's sanity.

Dude: "Oh! Yes, you already told me that." And he gave an affected chuckle. "Yes. 2009. And you would like to make a payment? Over the phone? How much is the payment amount?"

Okay, now we're talkin'. "$200."

Dude: "Okay, yes, well. That's a payment of $200 for Social Security Number ____, for the 2009 tax year."


"Yes, that's correct," I smile as I talk. Gotta. Keep. In. The. Laughter.

Dude: "Okay, yes, well. That's a payment of $200 for Social Security Number ____, for the 2009 tax year."

I nod. "That's it!" Wanna triple check that, mister?

Dude: "Okay. Yes, well, here is your confirmation code for your payment...and is there anything which...anything else I can help you with?"

Besides your social skills and grammar? Nah.

"No, that's it, thanks!" Still smiling. Although, I secretly hoped that my payment would actually go through and not be caught up in some cyber-IRS hiccup somewhere. Confirmation code notwithstanding. Of course.

He repeated the confirmation code and wished me a good day and actually thanked me for calling the IRS.

Oh. The pleasure is all mine. Truly.

And I hung up and laughed out loud.