Saturday, April 10, 2010
Baby's Got Back...Tax Forms
Friday I stopped by the Internal Revenue Service office to pickup some forms. I've been a regular customer there for many years. In fact, I keep expecting them to send me my Rewards card. No luck yet. My visit is something I do annually just like getting my pap smear and mammogram. Not nearly as pleasant, but for some reason, I look forward to it just the same.
For a moment, I stood outside, with my hand on the door of Suite 300, preparing myself to savor the freshly printed ink on paper smell that I love. Getting ready to fully immerse myself in the experience of Tax Year 2009 in 2010. Each year is unique and, if not special, well...then not special. Wondering what new forms I would find this year. There's always some kind of surprise. A new addition. A deletion. Earned Income Credits for which I never qualify. An unexpected change on Line 42. I know. Don't hate me because I live such an exciting life. The glitz. The glam. You couldn't handle the pace.
It never fails that the forms I need are gone. The IRS agent at the desk by the door has a stock answer when asked if he has any more:
"I think we have some in the back."
Picking up his keys, he waddles to the door, unlocks it, and reappears with the needed forms. He must do this a 100 times a day. Can't figure out why they don't just put the darned things out front. I mean, why would you want a Form 4562-Amortization and Depreciation for the fun it all. But, hey, from what I saw, that was the best part of his job. Who am I to be killjoy.
Then, there were the two agents in the two, semi-unprivate cubicles helping people one-on-one. I only had to go in there once. A long time ago, when we started our first business, we didn't have the money to pay the taxes. We didn't know that, when you're self-employed, you have to pay estimated taxes because you don't have an employer to make your withholdings. Which means, that you have to guess how much money you're going to make and pay them before it is actual income.
If you don't guess high enough, they get to penalize you. If you pay too much, you don't get to penalize them. That's how they roll. It's a little more complicated than that, but that is the general idea. That was when I found out that you can request to get on the IRS payment plan. Hot diggity! A payment plan? Who knew? I like payment plans. They're much better than not filing. The penalties for not filing are a lot higher. A LOT!
But this year, there was something new. I didn't notice it right away. Over in the corner, sitting on a stool, was a security officer. Never, in my nearly 35 years of visiting this office, has there been extra security. I overheard the door agent saying it was a protection the government implemented after the guy flew his plane into an IRS office a few months back. Uh, hello, security might help if someone walks in with a AK-47. But, I don't think this overweight guy is gonna stop someone from flying a kamikaze mission into the building. For crying out loud, he's inside and could never see the plane death spiraling down from the sky.
He was checking people out, though. He even checked me out. At first, it kind of made me wonder if I was, some how, suspicious looking. But then I thought, oh, he's just zoomin' my boo-tay. Girl, all those Pilates classes are paying off, I think to myself. Damn, I love going to the IRS office! Until next year, Mr. Security Man. (wink)