Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing

The dreaded day of my IRS audit finally arrived. I have spent much of the past two weeks searching hi and low and near and far for my supporting documentation.

Yesterday, I put the finishing touches on the worksheets I created. I checked and double checked everything. I looked on map quest so I would know where exactly I was going to go. I made sure that all my folders were neatly stacked and ready to go.

I tried to reassure myself that all would be well, but I would be lying if I said that it wasn't difficult to go to sleep. It would also be a lie to say that I slept soundly through the night without a care in the world. I tossed and turned all night long whilst dreaming of the Spanish Inquisition.

Somehow, I snoozed my alarm and was very dismayed to wake and see that the time was 7:18. My appointment was for 8:00 am. Hurriedly I got dressed, telling myself that showers are highly over rated.

The computer beckoned to me to check and see if anyone had commented on my post yesterday. This was a mistake, because before I knew it 15 minutes had passed and I was later leaving than I wanted to be.

Once again, I cautiously sped trying to make up for lost time. There were two different routes I could have taken, but one of them had cars backed up onto the off ramp, so that made my decision easy.

Somehow I missed the building the first time I drove by and actually ran a red light to do a U-turn. I didn't have time to wait and there were no cars anywhere in the vicinity.

Anxiously, I pulled the parking garage ticket from the little machine. My stomach had now felt like I had swallowed a bucket of nails. Quickly, I parked and walked into the building. By now I was feeling a little dizzy and wondered if they have any paper bags I could breathe into.

The security guard checked out my appointment letter and told me to go through two large doors. I wondered if they would lock behind me and I would never be heard from again.

Once in the smallish waiting room, I picked up the phone and dialed the extension on my letter to let my examiner know I was there. He told me to wait for a few minutes.

I sat down and noticed a plant growing up and over the whole wall.

I thought it looked rather ominous and picture worthy. Quick as a bunny, I pulled out my camera and snapped a shot. The secretary behind the glass window informed me that it is against the law to take pictures in federal buildings. I said "Sorry, I didn't know, and it was just the plant anyway."

This secretary reminded me of the secretary in Monsters Inc. I asked her about the plant and she told me that it was 20 years old. Yikes, she did look ancient, but how long had she worked there? Perhaps that plant was her pride and joy, her only source of happiness in this life, and I had (gasp) taken a picture of it. Well, excuuuse me. Am I right, doesn't it look kind of creepy?

Finally, the door leading back to all the cubicles opened, and I was face to face with the MAN. I not sure what I expected, probably someone tall and spindly, with a comb over, and thick black rimmed glasses. The person I stood facing looked more like Wilford Brimley than Icabod Crane.

He seemed nice enough. He ushered me back to a cubicle in the back that even had a window. Somehow, I had envisioned a dark large room with spot lights and torture devices. There wasn't even anything remotely scary about this cubicle. In fact there was a cane laying on the back credenza and a Starbucks cup sitting next to the computer. All very normal run of the mill stuff.

I sat there waiting patiently. One person had given me the advice that I was not to offer any information, only answer questions as they were asked. This had me very worried because when I get nervous I tend to ramble on and fill any silence. So I was concentrating on not talking which made me even more nervous.

First he went over my rights. Blah, blah, blah and yada, yada, yada. Then he asked me a bunch of questions about whether I had any undeclared income or any rich uncles who died and left me millions of dollars that I had failed to report. I wondered that if you did have hidden money, would you just tell the IRS about it. The only question I could answer yes to was the one about getting an insurance settlement for my car that Trent totaled.

Then he asked me a bunch of information like my address and phone number. It kind of scared me to think that I had to give the IRS my cell phone number. All of these questions were harmless, though.

Finally, the moment of truth. We moved onto the part of him asking for my supporting detail about my cash contributions. I was a little put out to find out that he accepted just my letter from the church about my tithing. I didn't need all the copies of my canceled checks after all. What the what? Oh well it was reeeally fun to spend 6 hours digging through bank statements and at the bank in Utah. Seriously, I shouldn't complain, it was much easier this way. But why did the letter they sent me say I needed the dang copies, in the first place.

He did take the copies of the checks that I had given to Friends of Scouting and for Jared's scout camp. I really thought that he was going to question me about the scout camp, but I managed to keep from rambling on about it and he didn't say anything.

He made copies of the two receipts I had from Good Will. I was worried about those as well, but he didn't want anything more than the copies.

Then he did some things on his computer and printed out some forms. All the while I sat there dying from the suspense, but trying to remain calm.

In the end he told me that I did not owe any additional tax. And I would not be audited for 2008 or 2009. And just like that, it was over.

I pondered asking him if I could take my picture with him, but given the whole "it's against the rules" policy, I decided discretion was the better part of valor.

He shook my hand and escorted me out to the waiting room. The whole thing took 30 minutes. I spent longer in the car to get there and back.

And so just like some kind commenter had told me, it was much better than I had expected. Painless even. The worst part was all the stress and worry that I inflicted on myself before I even got there.

I came home and informed my husband, who was very relieved. He was convinced that all our assets were going to be confiscated and we would end up homeless living in a van down by the river. Except Vegas doesn't have any rivers. We do however own a van, so half of his dream could have come true. He's an optimist that way.

I did request that my family address me with "Hail the conquering hero" for the rest of the day, but they didn't seem keen on that idea.

At least now I can check "Stress out over the doom and gloom of the upcoming IRS audit" off my list of things to do each day. What will I do with all the spare time and added years to my life expectancy?

17 comments:

Amie Earl said...

I get to be first yeah for me anyway glad that it all went well and your done. Now just to get three kids off to school. that should be the easy part.

Homer and Queen said...

Glad you're done, now get on with living! How much weight did you gain stressing about it? I gained 10 pounds just reading about it!!! See what a good friend I am? I am there for you baby!!!

Marjorie said...

I love how you write so many details. I could totally see the hall, the room, the plant (oh, there was a picture for that!)the cubical, the cane etc. I could even see the sweat beading up on your forehead. I've been praying for you all day and am so glad that it came off alright. Even though he didn't look at all your checks it was good to be prepared. May you be done with IRS audits forever!!!

T said...

Hail the conquering Hero!!!! (just so you know, that greeting comes with a soundtrack behind it... truly amazing actually...)

glad it's over and done with - and that you got that illegal picture :)

Kristina P. said...

I am so glad that it was painless! I would have been sweating bullets too.

April said...

I bet that if you didn't have the checks that he would have asked for them! That's what would have happened to me! I am soooo glad that it went so easily!!!

Barbaloot said...

You passed! Hooray! I'm sorry you had over-prepared, but that's better than the other way around, no? :)

Smart Helm said...

Phew, I'm so glad its over 4 u! I know how stressful it was for my friend.. and I'm glad it was easy peasy!

Well... easy peasy compared with what u thought it was going to be. :-)

Allison Barnes said...

Yahoo!! glad it went so well!!

Eliza said...

Hail the conquering HERO!!! You did it! And now you can relax a little, oh yeah school's starting soon. Well I guess you can stress over all that now instead of the gloomy IRS!

Kris said...

Hail the conquering Hero!! Way to beat the man. It is so cool that you will not be audited for 2008 &2009, so you can deduct anything and everything. I bet your medical expenses are pretty big and fishy.

Shawna said...

I would have been so disappointed if he didn't seem like he needed all those copies of canceled checks. What a madding experience! I'm so glad there was no need to bake a cake with a file in it because try as I might they all came out flat, sunken in, not pretty at all.
Now gird up those loins and get those kiddos ready for school.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Oh my goodness! I am astonished at that creepy crawly plant. Ewww. That was definitely picture worthy. I'm so glad you snuck in that shot without getting arrested.

And so glad your audit went off without a hitch and that you don't have to live in your van down by the . . . motel pool.

I've been wondering how you survived the whole ordeal.

btw, I think it would have been extremely heelarious if you had actually gotten your picture with him. I would have totally called you "hail the conquering hero" for that.

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