22 November 2010

your tax dollars, hard at work

Alas, I cannot truthfully take credit for the sign pictured here, but I still like it regardless.

Earlier in today's mail, I found an envelop addressed to me from the IRS. Immediately my stomach knotted and my butt began to tingle. Just a quick aside here, I thought that everyone's butt tingled when they got nervous; but no, come to find out, that's just me. {sigh}

To what could this be in regard? The dropped lawsuit the State of Alabama tried to pursue against me six years ago? The forgiven student loan matter which was finalized two years ago? What fresh new and improved hell could this government agency have cooked up this time?

Upon reading the letter and glancing at the enclosed brochure, I realized that this letter pertains to me no more than most of the other literature I've received from the IRS over the years. About thirteen or fourteen years ago, for a few months, one tax~season, I was a tax~preparer for H & R Bloch {the company actually uses "Block" for most all of its contact with the public, cuz folks are less likely to misspell that than the Germanic surname, however our checks came from the proper "Bloch"}. After that, I did not function in the capacity of a paid tax~preparer.

In fact, I haven't prepared taxes for at least ten years, not even my own. This year, when it came time to file, My Jerry and I went down to our local WalMartZ and had whomever set up their lemonade~stand there do it. I can prove all this if need be, cuz I keep records. Of everything. Well, everything important, like stuff dealing with taxes. And other government agencies. And medical stuff. Not piddling stuff like eMails about who said what to whom about whom.

So this letter today was to let me know that there is a new! improved! self~regulating! method! {ok! those"!"! are getting annoying!} to "provide oversight to help regulate the tax preparation industry". So please go online to the IRS website, log~on, provide your social security number and your date of birth and your address and your filing status and your employer identification number and your CAF number and your electronic filing identification number and your CPA and your bar number and your enrolled agent number, along with your other contact information, and be prepared to use your credit or debit card to pay a sixty~five dollar annual user fee to apply and/or renew your Preparer Tax Identification Number {PTIN}. Do it! Do it now!

At first I was confused, then I was worried, then I got scared. So I called the primary toll~free number, navigated the automated menu, and sat on~hold for over THIRTY minutes. When the rep came on line, I didn't tell her that my butt~tingles had now migrated thru~out my system and now my tongue was numb. No. After asking how she was this fine afternoon, I replied to her like~query with, "I'm confused, I'm worried, and I'm a bit...concerned". She pleasantly offered her assistance.

I explained that I'd received letter 4636 (9-2010) along with enclosed publication 4889, catalog number 55572D regarding the directive to renew "my" Preparer Tax Identification Number for the 2011 filing season. I explained that I haven't been a paid tax preparer in thirteen to fifteen years. I explained that I have not, in fact, prepared anyone's taxes {not even my own} in over seven years. And then I explained my ... concern.

Namely that concern was two~fold. One, why am I receiving this letter and could they please update their files on me to reflect that I am not a tax~preparer, let alone a paid one that would necessitate my obtaining a special number? And two, is there anyone else using my information to be a paid tax~preparer?

It turns out that, no, they cannot update their files. If I simply take no action, do not apply for a PTIN, then their files will drop me from their list of past, present, and/or potential tax~preparers. That being the case, why am I still on the list after a decade of inactivity? But apparently this was a question that cannot be addressed at this time. Which I think is IRS~speak for "I have no idea".

And two, by checking under my social security number, the representative verified that I do not have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. Not even the one that should have been there from the three month stint with H&R Bloch one state, several addresses, and a name change ago. Which makes me wonder how they even knew to send me the letter in the first place.

At any rate, I made copious notes, stapled it all together, and filed it in case something should arise down the road necessitating my producing the letter with my notes that the IRS rep told me to "discard this letter" because it doesn't apply to me. {sigh} It's enough to feed into any latent paranoia tendencies I may have had. On hold for over thirty minutes, people.

Thirty minutes.



  1. I like when a 'required action' is me doing nothing! :)

  2. After spending 20 plus years in Uncle Sam's employ - 30 minutes on hold would actually have been one of my short waits. Really glad its nothing to be concerned about though.


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