Loud dramatic music like you’d hear on TV or at the movies — “DUN-DUN-DUN” — echoes in my head as I pull a letter from our mailbox; it’s from the Internal Revenue Service.
I don’t know about you but when Uncle Sam’s money collectors drop a line in the middle of summer instead of around tax time I open the thing right up.
Basically the letter read, “Hello, we believe you owe us several thousand dollars from 2008.”
“Nowhere in here does it say we owe them that much,” said The Lady of the House.
I was speechless, I had walked zombie-like into the kitchen and handed her the letter.
“It says we may owe them this much,” she continued. “I’m sure it’s a mistake.”
I mean, I don’t mind paying taxes. The USA is a big ol’ country and my hard-earned money helps with such groovy things as superhighways, thermonuclear devices to protect us from rogue nations and anti-revolution insurance. But I know I paid my taxes that year. Uncle Sam’s records said I’d only paid a few hundred dollars but my records showed that I’d paid a few thousand. Somewhere along the way someone, and it wasn’t me, left off a digit.
I called the IRS, just to talk to someone about it. I mean if you want a few thousand bucks from me we should at least talk, right?
After an hour on the phone in various holding patterns I got a knowledgeable woman who said: “Sir, it’s not a bill, it’s a discrepancy report. Just return it with your last pay stub of that year and your W-2.”
I guess I should have listened to The Lady of the House and not panicked, and just remembered what they taught me in grade school: Our government is fair and just. Isn’t it?