Dealing with Tax Agencies

Radley Balko tells his frustrating stories about dealing with the IRS.  These stories seemed totally familiar to me because in my business life, I deal with very similar problems nearly every day.  Doing business in 12 states, I don't just deal with the IRS but 12 sales tax agencies, 12 employment tax agencies, 12 unemployment insurance agencies... you get the idea.   Multiply this story times 100 and that is what I spend most of my time on running my business.

Just as one example, 8 years ago Florida switched our company from quarterly to monthly reporting  for sales taxes.  They did this in the middle of a quarter, so the reporting for that quarter was a funny mix of a partial quarter plus one monthly report.  The next year a letter was triggered automatically from their system saying I hadn't submitted two months of reports.  It took me several hours and multiple phone calls and two faxed letters to get them to understand the situation and promise to update their system.  Frustrating but case closed.  Or not.  Their system again triggered a threatening letter to me over the same issue in December 2004.  And then 2005.  And 2006.  2007.  2008.  2009.  This comes up again every dang year.  Every year after hours of work someone swears I have finally found the right person and I would never hear about it again.  But the next year it pops up yet again.  In 2009 they actually sent a sheriff to our Florida location to start attaching assets over the non-issue.

  • John Moore

    It's not just government. Five years ago, Bank of America, with whom I have personal and business accounts and have had for 25 years, ignored my request to cancel a credit card. They apparently re-issued the card, and then, when I didn't pay the $79 card fee, turned it over to a collection agency. I had never seen any of the bills. When I got a call from a collection agency, I just paid to make them go away.

    I just discovered this recently when the same large bank denied me a credit card, because there was a "write-off" on my credit report. Yep, they were the folks who had done the write-off. I hadn't been monitoring my credit (my thinking... why bother when I always pay my bills on time), so I just discovered this write-off when applying for the card.

    Many hours of frustration, phone calls not returned, and dealing with people who say "since you paid the collection agency, you acknowledged the debt, so we can't un-report it" has led me to believe that big businesses can be just as idiotic, just as inhuman, and just as frustrating as the government. The only difference is they don't have guns, although they can (as has been shown with the foreclosure mess) cause people with guns to come out and evict you for no good reason.

    This leads me to wonder why we put up with such things, either from the government or the big corporations. Naturally, I didn't know my bank behaved in such a manner until long after the damage was done.

    I don't see how the Libertarians are going to help with this sort of corporate asininity. The whole society is just going down the drain.

  • perlhaqr

    What if you just filed the reports?

  • Orion

    At least Connecticut switched me to monthly at the end of the quarter. I just had that exact same experience. Since I do primarily mail order I am dreading the day when I have to collect, report, and return sales tax to each and every state I ship to.

  • tehag

    Isn't there a great work of literature about this situation? I believe it's called Les Miserables. I believe the fix is called "guillotine."

  • Matthew Brown

    If he filed the reports, they'd then decide he owed tax he'd already paid. There's no winning on that one.

  • Ted Rado

    I admire you folks who run a private business. I always worked for a large corporation before I retired, so didn't have to deal with such BS. In your shoes, I would probably have cussed or punched sombody and got arrested. You guys have the patience of saints and should get medals!!

    A thought. In this computer age, couldn't much of this sea of record keeping be avoided?