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Saturday, I was delighted to receive my annual letter from the IRS.
Yes, that's right. I was DELIGHTED to get a letter from the IRS.
No one in their right mind likes to get a letter from the IRS. People hate the IRS. People fear the IRS. It's like getting a letter from the Inquisition. No one likes the IRS.
But I do.
Every year, usually after a great deal of procrastination, I do my taxes. (I do my own taxes because I believe I should have at least some clue about the tax system and how it works. Shows how naive and foolish I am.) I fill out all the little worksheets in the instruction booklet. I download forms and instructions. I pay attention, I check my math, I redo anything that I suspect I might have gotten wrong, and I am as careful as I can be.
And, I never get it right. This is the eighth (?) year in a row that the IRS has responded to my meticulously prepared return with a letter pointing out that I have goofed.
The IRS is obviously worried about offending, so they don't come right out and say what they must be thinking, i.e. "You are an idiot." They don't get snarky about the fact that I list as one occupation "statistician" and as another "university professor." (Though I've got to believe that they are yucking it up around the office about the nitwit statistician who apparently can't add or subtract.) When they tell me, they put the news tactfully and gently: "We have corrected your return."
Now having one's return "corrected" by the IRS might seem like a bad thing. But not to me.
If memory serves, only once in the last eight years have I owed the IRS more money. The other seven times, the IRS has owed me. This year they owed me an additional $1,600. (This morning, I wrote them a chatty letter thanking them for helping to put my eldest son through college.)
(The other cool thing about the IRS is how efficient they are. The letter arrived on Saturday. The check was here today.)