Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving from the IRS

First of all, Borat for President! More on this later after my third viewing.

So the mailbox greeted me with a friendly notice from the IRS informing me that I owe them $8,000.*

Please stay with me even if numbers bore you to tears. You know, I was seriously tempted to get your attention by inflating these numbers by one or two 0's, leaving you with the impression of my wealth and prosperity in case you know somebody who's looking for an e-Sugar Daddy, but then I recalled at least one posting sharing with you intimate details of my reputation as Korean trash in the neighborhood. Sometimes I talk too much. Sigh sigh sigh.

After meticulously digging through my records, I discovered two mistakes on their part.

1) For the 2004 tax year, I overpaid the IRS by $4,000. Instead of asking for a refund check, I opted to apply it to the year 2005. The IRS is claiming, according to their tabulation, that this amount is only $3,000.

2) To close out the 2005 tax return, I sent the IRS a check for $7,000. The IRS claims not to have received the payment even though I have the cancelled check right here with me.

The friendly letter concludes with the following friendly statement (emphasis mine).

If you think we made a mistake, please call us at the number listed above.

Excuse me? "A" mistake? Oh how presumptuous of you.

So can anyone help me out with IRS etiquette and talking points for each of the aforementioned mistakes?

1) How in the world will I get them to look at my 2004 return and admit that they are off by $1,000?

2) I remember reading an LA Times story a few years back about a taxpayer in a similar situation.

He produced the cancelled check and the bank statement to the IRS, but that didn't help. The IRS insisted that their bank never got the money. Apparently your check to the government goes to a third party financial institution, which in turn pays the IRS. If that bank fails to transfer your money to the final destination which is the IRS, the onus is on the taxpayer to find the money and deliver it to the IRS coffers.

In this particular case, the taxpayer's money vanished into a black hole without a trace, and he ended up filing for bankruptcy after several fruitless years of fighting the IRS and the third party bank.

I will let you know how it pans out. I hope you will get the hint when you see on the sidebar the Paypal icon with a sign that reads:  Will Blog for Food.

* numbers rounded up for simplification

BORAT 2008

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Just another day

Even though this particular Japanese takeout place isn't known for great food, I love seeing this old lady who always greets me with a radiant smile. Despite her limited command of the English language, her warmth and kindness have attracted a lot of customers to this small joint located in this very Anglo area of Orange County.

The price tag for my lunch order came out to be $7.32. Since I only had a twenty dollar bill, I asked her to hold it while I excused myself out to my car in the parking lot to get some change.

There was plenty of pennies and nickles inside the cupholder. But they were caked in spilled Coke and dog hairs. It was disgusting.

Being a nice guy, I thought I'd wash them before handing them over to this very classy Japanese lady. Returned to the joint, and headed straight to the restroom. Dropped the coins in the sink and soaked them in water for a few minutes to dissolve the fossilized dog hairs and Coke and heaven knows what else.

Finally I made my way back to the counter and placed the coins in her hand. She winced a bit:  Turned out that some were still glistening with moisture. Apparently I did not do a very good job of drying them with the paper towel.

"Oh, I had to wash them."

Her face turned ghost white. Gone was her smile.

She had just seen me emerge from the restroom.

Just another dorky day in my little corner of the world. Nice going, Cho.