Tag Archives: refund

Taxing FIRS

taxesFIRS = F-word of your choice + IRS.

Are you enjoying national tax day? Are your taxes done? Or have you committed a boo boo?

The local news has been reporting the scam for months. Clever identity thieves somehow are able to take a minimal piece of information, like a social security number, and use it to abramoff with someone else’s tax refund.

The most unbelievable part is that they are somehow able to get around the world famous tight security at the IRS.

There’s one for you, nineteen for me.
–The Beatles, Taxman

Ah. A story problem. Math will elucidate the tax bracket faced by the The Beatles. 1 + 19 = 20. So the tax rate (the 19 for the taxman) is 19/20. My calculator tells me that equals .95 aka 95 percent. Yes, The Beatles were in the 95 percent tax bracket. Says Wikipedia, “As their earnings placed them in the top tax bracket in the United Kingdom, the Beatles were liable to a 95% supertax introduced by Harold Wilson’s Labour government.”

Hearing about this scam over and over again, and how it apparently worked, I began to formulate my plan. I was going to steal the Declaration of Independence file for Mitt Romney’s tax refund. With that I’d finally have enough money to retire, move to a beach on Zihuatanejo and hang out with Andy Dufresne and Ellis “Red” Redding.

All I had to do was get my hands on Mitt Romney’s W-2 forms. Dammit, foiled again!

Like I tried to teach my son when he was younger, there is no $20 dollar bill fairy. If you lose your money, there is no force in the universe that will say, “Tell me all about it. Here, allow me to give you some more.” It just don’t work that way. What’s gone is always gone and it always stays that way. So don’t lose that $20 dollar bill.

Meanwhile, though, apparently the IRS is in the habit of giving refunds to the wrong people. The bad people. And that got me to wondering. Is there a tax fairy?

Think of it this way: Let’s say I owe you $20. Then, for whatever reason, I give your money to Bob. Does this mean I no longer owe you a debt? I doubt you’d agree. You likely say, “I don’t care who you did what to for how many cookies. I want my $20. Guido here is about to offer some encouragement to your kneecaps.”

The simple point I’m trying to make is that the IRS being fooled by criminals should not alleviate their responsibility to give people their own money back. So you gave the money to Bob? Boo freakin’ hoo.

If not, then I suggest a new tax form. Let’s call it the 7734-PROX-EZ.

  • Line 1: Amount of tax you owe.
  • Line 2: Amount of money you gave Bob. (Enter amount of line 1.)
  • Line 3: Amount you own the IRS: (Subtract Line 1 from Line 2.)
  • Line 4: Sign full name to indicate your tax burden this year is a mulligan.

If the IRS isn’t being a tax fairy for the victims of crime then I’m sure they’ll understand.

Last, but not least, one other simple concept:

  • The guy who threw a rock and smashed your window to bits? He owns the glass store.
  • The guy who slashed the whitewalls on your car? He owns the tire store.
  • The people who make computer viruses? The makers of your favorite anti-virus software.
  • The company that makes tax filing software? They vigorously oppose efforts to make filing taxes simpler.

This is all, of course, predicted by GUNT, my Grand Unification Negativity Theory for everything.

In case that last bullet point is somehow unclear, let me say this:

TurboTax Maker Linked To Fight Against ‘Return-Free’ Tax System
Source: NPR

It looks like there is a tax fairy after all. He just works a bit differently (more sinister and evil) than even I expected. And his name is TurboTax. I try to be negative but sometimes even I can be schooled.

Well played, TurboTax.

Now that is customer service

A visual representation from our last office staff meeting. I'm the one on the far right.

I’m going to admit to belief in an amazing premise. This might be the only time I ever say something remotely like this so pay attention! 🙂

The premise is this: I assume that even those of us who hate our jobs with every fiber of our being and think customers are obliviots still make the effort (in vain) to actually help and provide service to our customers.

It still surprises me so much every time I realized that in spite of everything I actually cared! I must try harder.

Even so, some amazing situations can still develop. This is a story about one of them.

Our store’s web site has a feature that will send an automated email message to customers when we are running behind on their order. It’s a cheesy system but at least it pings the customer and lets them know something is still going on.

Sometimes, though, that system bites us in the ass and makes us look like fools. And, as far as I’m concerned, I can always use a good belly laugh like that! I’m not personally invested. The system sure as hell wasn’t my idea!

In regards to the particular order in question a customer had ordered four widgets. Three had already shipped. A fourth widget, however, was backordered and the fulfillment date was the ever-popular “unknown.” The customer chose to call in and exercise his right to cancel the widget and have his money returned rather than wait for some nebulous date. For some odd reason customers don’t seem to think “it’s on a big boat somewhere in the middle of the ocean” is specific enough information.

Now here’s the fun part. Because our accounting department takes so damn long to process refunds, our system has been emailing the customer the automated “sorry your widget is late – we’re working really hard on it” bullshit email every few days for a product that has already been canceled!!!

Why the hell should it take over seven days to refund a customer money? Search me! That’s just the way we roll here in the shithole. “Quick to charge but slow to refund” is our motto!

Every cloud has a silver lining (or so I’ve heard) and this one is that our own incompetence and lack of caring makes us look especially idiotic. I just love happy endings!