Sunday, May 4, 2014

100 Things I Want to Tell My Children and Grandchildren: #7

Don’t mess with the IRS.
(Picture is of me, 1984)

If you've never had a terrifying encounter with the Internal Revenue Service, raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone? I didn’t think so.  Mine was in 1984 when I received a letter from the IRS claiming I owed $10,000 in back taxes from 1982.

Since my employer automatically deducted taxes from my monthly paycheck in 1982, I just ignored the letter thinking the IRS had made a mistake.  However, when I failed to get a paycheck from my employer in 1984 because the IRS had garnished my wages and would continue to garnish my wages until the 1982 back taxes were paid, I could no longer ignore them.

When I called the IRS in tears, they said the back taxes were actually for wages earned by my x-husband.  They continued to explain that when you divorce and file your taxes jointly for the year you are divorcing, both parties are responsible for any and all taxes due during that year. I was easier to track down than he, so I was the one whose wages were garnished!

I immediately consulted a tax attorney who said, “We can fix that! We’ll apply for Innocent Spousal Relief and you won’t have to pay a thing to the IRS.”  When I asked what he would charge to provide this exceedingly beneficial-to-me service, he responded, “About $10,000.” 

So I paid the taxes, licked my wounds, and learned a really hard lesson.

Don’t mess with the IRS!

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