Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Government inefficiencies...Brett brought it up



I just got a letter from the IRS, below are the contents:

1. Letter from the IRS telling me that I need to submit form 941X, which the letter says is enclosed. (its an addendum form to report additional income earned after you've filed taxes, its a long boring story and will probably involve me getting angry while retelling it so I'll spare you)

2. A pink notice that says "We're listening to you! You've told us that you don't need us to mail forms and publications to you because they are available from other sources and because it wastes tax dollars."

3. The same notice as above, but in Spanish.

4. A letter about disaster relief with a hotline number to call if you can't pay your taxes. The reverse side is in Spanish.

5. A blank voucher, just in case I want to mail in any money. None is owed, and nothing is mentioned in the letter about any outstanding taxes/interest, but you never know when you might want to mail in money to the IRS.

6. A return envelope (no postage of course).

7. See #1. That's right, a duplicate copy.

So obviously I have a few comments about this, which I will letter to avoid confusion.

a. This letter is coming 6 months after I have already paid some additional taxes, interest on those late taxes, and already talked back and forth with the IRS. I have a letter from the IRS that says everything is resolved, dated 6 months ago. Perhaps the 941X is a handled by a different department....

b. If they aren't putting the forms in with the letters then why does the letter still refer to an enclosed form and list the same form on the list of enclosures? Or is it a different department that is responsible for updating the generic letters about submitting forms and you know, they just don't have the funding right now to have someone go through and update their letters with the correct information. Confused yet? Imagine how people who work at the IRS must feel.

c. I'm glad the IRS is so eager to pat themselves on the back about listening to taxpayers, but I'm pretty sure that when taxpayers told the IRS "stop mailing me so much crap", they didn't just mean the IRS forms. I mean did they really get feedback from people who said "I really enjoy exchanging correspondence with you through the US Postal Service, but arggghhh, stop mailing me all these forms, I just want the letters, blank return envelope with no postage, and a couple of unrelated notices in multiple languages, please."

d. Which brings me to my next point, I really appreciate how the IRS has saved so much taxpayer money by not including the IRS forms with the letter. Luckily this was perfect timing, because in a different department the "multiple notices in multiple languages on pink paper about not sending forms with the letters" campaign is really ramping up and they need all of the tax dollars they can get their hands on to pay for this great informational campaign.

e. Why is the notice pink? And how much extra do you think that cost us?

f. Which brings me to my next point, why does the IRS even reference "saving taxpayer money?" Are you telling me that at the end of the year the IRS is going to come out with an announcement and say "Due to a huge savings by not including forms with out letters, we have saved 3.6 billion dollars, which we are going to refund to the taxpayers!!! Of course keep in mind that you will need to report this as additional income and pay taxes on it, but don't worry, we'll mail you a letter concerning it."

g. Needless to say, I may have a few other suggestions for how to "save taxpayer money."

6 comments:

  1. Hey Jake...remember when you worked for the census and we laughed at how they paid you all that money even though 75% of the time you just sat there and read books? That has always remained my favorite example of government inefficiencies. How many thousands of people across the country were doing the exact same thing?

    They just have it all backwards. Professional politicians creating budgets and then programs with no incentive to give quality service just use every penny. Brilliant.

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  2. On a positive note, I went to the new Garland Tax office the other day and actually had a decent experience. It was a well kept organized building. The employees looked like they could get the square peg through the square hole, and I was in and out in five minutes...of the tax office you perverts.

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  3. Brett - I really like positive-upbeat-friendly- occassionally makes subtle sexual jokes-funny Brett. I'm starting to remember why we were such good friends once upon a time. Damn Mr. Hume (sp?), he had it coming.

    Yes I do remember the census, $15/hr to sit at a table and review the field surveyors forms to make sure all of the blanks were filled out. One pile for complete forms, one pile for forms that were missing information. And I absolutely was required to work exactly 40 hours, no more, no less. If I ran out of forms to check then they paid me to sit there and read a book. Ridiculous. Easy money for me, thank you John Q. Taxpayer!

    Speaking of which, census time is here again and they are hiring so if you are out of work this is a good opportunity to make decent money doing a really easy job.

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  4. You are sooooo getting Audited next year :-p

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  5. Jake, I like to think of us as good friends who just never hang out anymore. Maybe a last minute trip to Houston for your birthday is in order. We can play Tony Hawk and wrap Matt Howeth's house, but wrap your house as well to make us look innocent.

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