– Do Not Fall Victim

Back in 2010, I collected a pile of 1099’s from companies I did business with. Companies that sent uncertified USPS mail at random intervals of the approaching tax season; what could possibly go wrong? Well I must have misplaced one, because soon after filing for 2010, the IRS sent me a letter stating that I was in the rear several thousand dollars.

If this happens to you, pay them immediately! If you can’t pay the balance in full, establish a payment plan right away or you might end up in a worse predicament than I.

I did not pay my IRS debt, nor did I set up a payment plan, or acknowledge the debt in any way, shape or form. The IRS letter found its way to the trash, along with my former lifestyle due to the fact that my business was drowning and I was no longer making money (Alcoholism is a progressive disease). I was on a sinking ship with no land in sight, drinking Captain Morgan of all things. Debt was the last thing on my mind. My balance sheet was borderline red, the color of my Amex Plum card. I was young and arrogant and always drunk, and I shut down and closed the business while It was still profiting $36,000 annually.

I know, I’m an idiot. I figured I would leave affiliate marketing, tired of the hassles of uncontrollable variables, spending countless hours improving my ROI only to see my hard work and higher profits funneled into the coffers of my affiliates. I had it with playing middle man. Besides, I was getting squeezed out, nickel-and-dimed by the industry. Insurance tech was merging, changing and recovering from the housing and financial crisis of 2008, making it a constant headache to stay paid. So I gave it up and cut my losses, confident that I would soon start a new venture. Only nothing materialized. Nothing, except a string of debt and a desire to sit on my ass and watch pirated movies all day while drinking/drowning.

The IRS letters continued. The interest accumulated slow. No big deal. I continued to throw the IRS notices away without even opening them (I had no money). One day I received a deposit to Wells Fargo for $8,000. The IRS reached into my bank account and took a piece of it. How did they even know it was there? Deposits of $10,000 or more are usually reported to the IRS, but I guess transfer deposits of $8,000 (possibly less), are now also reported to their salivating clutches.

Years passed. More accuratly one decade. The letters stopped coming. I just plain forgot about my IRS debt. Each year reminded me that I needed to file back tax returns for all those previous years of inactivity, but I never got around to it.

Fast forward to self-improvement month. I decided to take care of all my back taxes. Pay all monies owed, fix my credit, fix my life, even collect that $3,200 in stimulus money that everyone received from those two COVID-19 checks. I scheduled an appointment with the IRS which brings us up to date to August, 2022:

Aug, 15th – This was the big day. I had an appointment with an IRS agent. (You can’t see them without first booking an appointment.) My IRS appointment left unresolved issues with my 2010 tax return. The IRS agent was a man that reminded me of the movie Dinner for Schmucks and he “released me” with a number to call. I already had a better phone number, one with more specific options sent in the mail before my appointment. (It took 30 days to set the appointment by the way.) The IRS agent could not do a thing about 2010, not even garnish wages. Too much time lapsed. He did however give me some additional information: the IRS will be taking that $3,200 stimulus money owed to me. I will not be receiving the money I was anticipating this week. He processed all previous unfilled tax returns that the nice lady at H&R Block prepared for an $800 bulk consolidation fee.

At home, I immediately call the IRS phone number to resolve the 2010 issue, only to hear there is a brief hold of 30-60 minutes. No good. I have work now. I’ll call back tomorrow.

Aug, 16th – “Due to our call volume, we want you to call back at a later time (no options given).” I called back and tried the option to establish payments and agree to the sum owed without dispute, and that got me a queue in line estimated to 60 minutes. And then tragedy occurred. The automated responder asked if I would like to leave my number and receive a call back instead of waiting on the phone. My instincts told me I would miss the call. It was a risky gamble with odds stacked against me higher than playing Keno in Las Vegas. Naturally I signed up for a call back, and yes the call dropped. Missed it with my finger reaching for the green answer button, but not my fault. I’m talking less than two seconds of ring time. Then several minutes later, a voicemail appeared by an automated program telling me she was sorry that I missed their call. Okay. I learned my lesson. Wait on the phone next time. I’ll try back tomorrow.

Aug, 17th – I tried this time. The IRS agent told me it would be cheaper. If it cost $200 per month to set up monthly payments with a phone representative, it would be $30 per month to set it up online. Why $30 online? It’s automated!?! uses a third party service called – I remember when that site came out. It was kind of a social media site. Now they’re doing business with .gov and their service is just as lousy as any government service. They do facial recognition on top of ID scans. They even asked me to upload my payment stubs from work and then complained that they didn’t have my birthdate and address on them. Who has their birthdate and address on their payment stubs from work? I got nowhere but aggravated with

I decided to call the IRS phone number again. It was fresh on my previous call list. (I had almost memorized the number by now.) Another hour wait on a live hold from 9:15am till 10:40am. Finally after my long awaited connection, I’m placed on the phone with a customer service rep. I get this bland, monotonous, mildly depressed, slightly disgruntled phone representative who sounded like he was in his broke thirties and placing a call to a suicide prevention hotline.

I explained my situation, that I owed $7,646.55 (let’s not forget the fifty-five cents) and asked if they could remove any of the fines, fees and accumulated interest. After several high-stress, five minute holds (to check on things for me) this guy finally hung up. Dropped the call. Ended. Done… This disgruntled government employee hung up on me; on purpose or accident, you decide.

What is this? Taxpayers are paying government employees (and their pensions), for these government employees to provide us with lousy, borderline rude customer service without even a smile. The government employees mistreat the public that pays them. If you don’t like your job, get a better one! Don’t linger around like a metastasizing cancer. Don’t take your problems out on the general public because you hate your job, your personal issues, whatever is causing you to project negativity towards us for requesting help with mandated government services. We all have better things to do!

So another day waisted. (well, not completely. I did have time to tend this article.)

Aug, 22nd – Waiting… Waiting… On hold all morning. FINALLY!!! Someone with seasoned knowledge and professionalism. This gentleman that I spoke with today explained the broader scope of things. He didn’t place me on any holds either. Instead of a dropped call, he dropped a gem of knowledge in my eagerly open hands. Since the debt is lower than $10,000 it will remain in uncollectible status until May of 2023. In June of 2023 the debt is removed from IRS records. Forgiven. A debt from 2010 is forgiven by 2023 if it is under $10,000? I didn’t ask, I didn’t want to press the issue. He instructed me that I am to make voluntary payments until May of 2023 (like I have been doing all along) and then come June, the debt vanishes. Finito. Unless I file my taxes for 2022 before June 2023 (Taxes are due in April), in which he recommended that I file an extension and complete my return AFTER June 1st. (So they don’t garnish my refund)

Nothing left to do! Problem finally solved. $7,646.55 saved, less the stimulus.

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