God Bless the IRS

Monday, May 12th, 2008, 4:33 pm

I read BadBlood’s post today about how he’s going to stimulate the economy with his federal tax handout and I thought, "Hey, I didn’t get mine yet". I’m your typical American–I may rail about the idiocy of our government, but when they’re handing out money I’m right there saying "Gimme gimme gimme!"

I checked my account online and zilch. Oh well, patience is a virtue, and as I left my building to run an errand I found a single envelope in my mailbox. It came from the the Department of the Treasury and there was a very checky-looking piece of paper showing through the address window. "Aha!’ said I, figuring that this was the $600 my government hopes I’ll use to help kick-start our slumping economy. Fools!!–that money is going right into an IRA. Or some other long-term investment. Or maybe I’ll use it as my video poker bankroll in Vegas…no!!

As I walked to my car I ripped open the envelope to make sure it was indeed a check and not a summons for a cavity-search-included audit. No, it was a check, but it wasn’t for $600–the sum was a bit north of $2,300. "Wha?" I said, enjoying a rare experience–being pleasantly surprised by the Internal Revenue Service.

See, I did my own taxes this year, including some frustrating and at-times comical attempts to file my quarterly estimated taxes. TurboTax and I had some issues early in the year–we were both talking but neither was listening, one of those relationships–and when I filed my taxes in April I suspected that I’d goofed at some point in the process. But I ran my calculations a couple of times, everything seemed to jibe, and I hit the SUBMIT button with confidence and a clear conscience.

Well, looks like I overpaid, and now Uncle Sam is generously returning the hard-earned money I paid in error. I probably would’ve figured out my mistake, eventually. Probably. Or maybe I’m just saying that to save some face.

I have to say that most of my recent encounters with dreaded government agencies have been a pleasure. The folks at my local post office are brisk, efficient and helpful. They handled my passport application in minutes and it was delivered about 2 weeks ahead of schedule. When I’ve had my mail held when I’m out of town it’s always delivered the day I returned bundled in a neat package. When I got my shots for Vietnam the County Health clinic may have looked like it hadn’t been painted since 1953, but the folks working there knew their stuff, quickly processed everyone waiting for inoculations, and made getting a bunch of injections a pleasure.

But before you think I’m ready to call for the introduction of socialism here in the U.S. of A., I’ve noticed over the years a dramatic increase in the quality of customer service everywhere. Maybe that’s because I haven’t worked a job like that for a long time and only now am I able to appreciate good service without a jaundiced or envious eye. Or maybe I’m a soft touch and I give a lot more credit for service that others might find ordinary. Who knows. Maybe I’d just rather be a brain-dead Pollyanna these days instead of a bitter, muttering bastard.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna go buy a PlayStation 3 AND a Wii. Grand Theft Auto 4, too.

Or maybe I’ll just shove it in my Roth IRA. Oh, to not be boring.

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One Response to “God Bless the IRS”

  1. Matt Says:

    GTA4 will suck your life away. And be worth it.

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