and I may be a FOOL, but this last week has been NO JOKE! Continue reading
Tag Archives: Taxes
AND I LOVE IT!!!
I’ll be honest – I have written and re-written this post in my mind numerous times. I have edited and re-edited and sometimes come to the point where I decided not to share, but was then convicted that this is TOO GOOD NOT TO SHARE.
Now I’ll put a small disclaimer on this post Continue reading
Every year I keep up with all sorts of paper work and documents about my banking and financial ventures to do as most of us do – combine it all into a report to send into the government for them to then tell me how much money they will take from me. As much as I hate this process, there is also a part of it which I find a little bit enjoyable.
You see I am a pretty detail oriented person and keep up with WAY too much paper work as well as documentation, so I will always have proof of something when needed. After a number of years of this – I ended up with all sorts of little file folders, crammed to the max with all my financial documents each year. Finally I found out from my tax person that I really only needed to keep the most recent 5 years worth of documentation and receipts, etc. I could throw the rest out but just hold onto my actual tax preparation documentation for older years. This was going to allow me to get rid of TONS of clutter.
So that year I sat down and got rid of all those past years, and narrowed it down to the most recent five years. I was doing some SERIOUS document shredding during those days. It took a while but I finally got it all compiled down to ONE BOX of file folders. It was pretty sweet. Now each year I have this little “right of passage” time into the next year, by taking the most recent years documents and putting it into the oldest file folder and getting rid of that years information.
For Example – this past year I did my 2008 taxes – so I bundle all the info up with my tax preparation report and go back to the file folder from 2003 – I then remove all the old info and trash it – but keep my tax preparation report from 2003 to hold onto. Then each year the cycle continues. This could just be a simple process and take only a few minutes, but I like to stop and look back through some of the stuff from 5 years ago and it helps remind me – where I was, what I was doing, and some highlights/milestones of my life from 5 years back. This can be an exciting, refreshing, humbling, and challenging experience.
Normally I do this near the start of the new year when I am wrapping up all the paperwork from the previous year to prepare my tax report. This year took a lot longer than I had planned, but today I am finally getting around to the “BIG SWITCH”. So today I am glancing back over stuff from 2003.
2003 was a pretty big year for me – and as the title of this post indicates it is sort of a me taking a STROLL CIRCLE down memory SPARTA LANE. You see 2003 was the first year that I was TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY living in Raleigh and working ONLY with Campus Christian Fellowship at NC State University. I had moved to Raleigh to begin my ministry there in July of 2001, but continued a part time role working back in Elizabeth City working with Mid-Atlantic Christian University (formerly Roanoke Bible College) – I kept up that role through the 01-02 School year. This was an extremely hectic year as I drove back and forth and worked at both places, but it was something I felt I needed to do and something that I did enjoy. So I only lived and worked in Raleigh FULL-TIME from about May 2002 on – this meant that 2003 was my first ENTIRE CALENDAR year there in Raleigh.
During this year I also moved living situations 3 different times. I moved from my first apartment in Apex, NC in with my life-long friend Kevin who had a home @ 108 Sparta Lane there in Apex (only about 5 min from my apt.) – I moved in about February of 2003 and lived there till I took another MAJOR STEP in life and purchased my first home. I bought a townhouse in Fuquay Varina, NC in August of 2003, it was located and 1928 STROLL CIRCLE (thus the reference for the title of this post).
These were definitely exciting times. You see I also had navigating our campus ministry finding it’s first ever “Ministry Center” location and we moved in ALSO during July/August of 2003 – RIGHT BEFORE the school year began (man was that exhausting). It was also during these same months that I had my first ever INTERN come and work with our campus ministry there at NC State. My good friend Aaron moved to Raleigh after graduating from Mid-Atlantic Christian University and moved into my new home there in Fuquay – needless to say it was fun times.
So you see – this task of going through old paperwork and stupid financial files has truly turned into a time of reflection and reliving old memories for me. As much as I dread the reason that I’m filing all these papers, at least I am enjoying the memories that it brings flooding back.
Well enough distraction from my task at hand – let me get back to the job of “cleaning out”, but thanks for joining me on this little MENTAL JOG down MEMORY – actually I mean – SPARTA LANE!
My schedule has included a bit more travel and then playing catch up once I did return home, so that has led to a real shortfall in the number of posts in the recent weeks, but now I want to catch back up some.
This past weekend I got the AWESOME and truly HUMBLING opportunity to go back to my alma-mater – the artist soon to be formerly known as Roanoke Bible College – to speak for an alumni session of Gospel Rally. It is always a great time with wonderful friends and family. But it is also always a WHIRLWIND of activity. So I definitely enjoyed it, but it is also nice to be back in GA and back to work.
This month I also had the grand opportunity to hit up the ACC Tourney here in the ATL – even though I had to watch my beloved Heels fall to FSU in the semi-finals it was still a great couple days. I got to see 8 basketball games in a 48 hour period – EXCELLENT!
So basketball, travels, speaking, and even a lil volleyball in the mix – this has shaped up to be a pretty awesome month – too bad I slacked off on the bloggin’ but now I am getting back into full swing.
Oh yeah to top it all off – I ALSO FINISHED UP MY TAXES AND GOT EVERYTHING PAID & RETURNED already – so no more concerns about that – now just time to sit around till good ole Pres. Obama starts to send me my own personal bailout!!! ha ha ah
So that gets you “up-to-date” – now let’s keep this deal rolling!
OH YEAH – ladies and gentlemen after many months, hours of painful phone calls, many dealings with people that could not know any LESS about their own job – THE SAGA HAS FINALLY ENDED!!!!
The irony is that I had just used this as an illustration in my sermon on Sunday and then the check arrived the very next day – hhhhmmmm maybe I should do that more often!
NEAL HAS BEATEN “THE MAN” that’s right I finally won the victory over the IRS – the checks came in the mail just yesterday. (It was such an exciting victory that Amy – the mom of the home where I live – called me as soon as the mail came in to let me know that the checks had arrived)
VICTORY IS MINE ha ha ha ha – was it worth it you ask? HECK NO but at least a lil satisfaction – in fact I even got about $3.80 more than I had expected – wooooo hoooooo – Take that all you bureaucratic buffoons!
I also got my $85 back from the CPA who messed the account up in the first place – so things are finally at peace once again in the land of Neal’s taxes! ha ha ha
Okay so enough of that silliness – a quick reminder – did anyone read the previous post about being an “abolitionist” – you really should do that!
So I figured since I cannot inflict bodily harm or condone any sort of felonious activity toward the IRS the best thing for me to do would be to take out my seething anger in true “bloggy” style! Why all of this angst you may ask – well it all begins about 4 months ago.
Upon the suggestion of someone in my family I decided to use a very nice CPA that had helped them with their own taxes for years. This person was supposed to really understand the “minister tax laws” and be able to really help me out. So I decided to change things up and go that route. After taking a few phone calls with questions that made me think things were not going to turn out like I had hoped I at least felt good that my taxes were done – ON TIME and that I would be able to make my final payment of what I owed the IRS BEFORE April 15th. The main problem was I now owed a heck of a lot more than I thought and it was already going to be putting me in a bind – I kept making myself feel better knowing I would at least get that wonderful “stimulus rebate” check.
So April 15th comes and goes and everything seems fine – except for the fact that the CPA who did my taxes and prepared the forms called me to ask if I had sent in the money and forms – which of course I had. It was then that I was informed that this CPA had accidentally “transposed” a couple of the digits in my social security #. They did not think it would be a huge ordeal since I did CORRECTLY write in my social security # on the front of my check. OOOOHHHHH how sadly mistaken they would be.
So let’s fast forward to the end of May (still no stimulus check has come yet) just as my family gets ready to leave for a vacation to Florida I receive a letter from the IRS. It is telling me I will get my stimulus check in TWO days – well now that is an extremely intelligent way to spend money (I can totally see how difficult it is for our gov’t to find ways to make cutbacks since they are not even intelligent enough to see how pointless that mailing was). So when I return from my trip I figure my check will be waiting – well let me tell you how surprised I was when I got not ONE but TWO letters on my counter when I got home. Well not only did I not get my check – here is what I did get – a letter saying that I still owed them almost $1,000. As you can imagine my shock and surprise and the level of anger I was experiencing. But then just when you thought they were cold and heartless they really “hooked me up” – the 2nd letter informed me that they were just going to KEEP my stimulus check and deduct that so now I only owed something like $388 which included late charges and interest for this money I owed them (even though I had already paid it).
Now if you know me you are already picturing the thoughts and words and anger that was going through my mind at the challenge set before me. So naturally I got on the phone and started inquiring about what had taken place. I noticed that the problem was coming from the fact that they had not included that last payment I made back in April – the payment that my CPA had accidentally messed up my Soc Sec #. So I figured okay this is an easy fix – I find the check on my online account with my bank – I prove that they cashed it and it had cleared the bank and everything would be fine.
In fact I was encouraged when since the same thing happened with my State Taxes (soc sec # was switched and they did not count my last payment made in April) – when I called them – they immediately saw their mistake and found that I had made my payment and that I had actually OVERPAID by $50 and would be getting a refund. HHHMMMMM Funny how simple and easy that was – but oh yeah leave it to the IRS to not understand how simple that can be.
So now I find out from the IRS that I have to make copies of the letters they sent me – make a copy of the online proof of the check I mailed in and THEY CASHED – and then type a letter explaining the situation – which I immediately did and sent it all in. I called back to the IRS and of course it takes 10 minutes to get through an automated system to only be put on hold for another 30 min to then talk to someone who has no idea what is going on and is going to tell me something totally different from the last person I spoke with. Well at times it definitely seems like they have beat me down and are going to keep me jumping through pointless hoops – but lil do they know the resolve of the person they are up against.
Well I have just about met my match – because they upped the anty by sending out letters with a phone # that when you call it – it puts you on an automated system, takes your info and then tells you due to a technical error the call cannot continue and then cuts you off. My favorite is that when I DO finally get through to an actual human and I ask them if they can give me a “direct line” to follow up down the road when I KNOW I will have to call them again cause they definitely will not follow up with me – they tell me they cannot do that – check that what they should be saying is that they WILL NOT DO THAT – you cannot tell me that there is not a direct line that can get me through to them.
So I finally find out that my information did make it to the IRS – and it was “officially” scanned into the system on June 16th – yes that is right OVER 2 MONTHS AGO. The lady on the phone that day told me that if I do not hear anything in 30 days (thus July 16th) to call them back. So how many of you all vote for the fact that I heard something??? Anyone Anyone Beuller Beuller – yeah that’s right NADA! So at some point I was given a phone # for a “Taxpayer Advocacy” office – hhhmmm Taxpayer – that would be me – Advocacy – oh they must advocate for my rights – WRONGO Mr. Alligood – when I call this number the lady basically doesn’t have time to listen to my story and the details – she wants to figure out how quickly she can get me off the phone – then finds a way for this entire situation is my fault – you know cause I totally have plenty of time on my hands to sit around on hold for 30 min at a time and then talk to someone that has no idea what to do and no official authority to make happen the things that they do know to do. So much for “taxpayer advocacy”.
Needless to say I am beginning to get discouraged – angry – embittered – well actually pardon my language just plain PISSED-OFF – definitely to the point of wanting to drive down to the local IRS office and in no uncertain terms help them to see the error of their ways till I walk out with a check that they more than owe me. It is very funny cause if I was must a few weeks late on paying them – they would add all sorts of charges and interest fees – but they are able to keep my money for at least 4 months and I will be lucky to even see the money owed to me – much less anything for all my time and effort. That leads to another aspect that ticks me off – these people on these phone lines – HELLLOOOOO THAT IS YOUR JOB – THAT IS WHAT YOU GET PAID TO DO – This is NOT my job – this is NOT what I get paid to sit around and do – and I totally understand that your job sucks when people do nothing but call and complain to you all day – but ladies and gentlemen if you would come up with an easier more efficient system for taxes I can assure you more people would probably pay on time or even pay at all and you would save all sorts of time and money with not having to put up with stupid crap like you are in this system.
Oh by the way did I mention that since I know the source of the problem – the fact that my soc sec # got switched up and that is basically the fault of my tax preparer – they will not return phone calls and have been slow to do much to help – at one point they did talk about since it was their fault they would probably refund my fee that I paid them. Do you know how quickly I got that check – um yeah that’s right it is the proverbial “check is in the mail”.
Okay so now as if this is not fun enough – guess what I got in the mail yesterday? Oh yeah another letter from the IRS – telling me that I owe them almost $400 and that I had not contacted them to deal with this matter and that I needed to do that – and you can probably guess what phone # they told me to call – HA HA HA HA HA HA yeah that’s right – the one that I have called tons of times that will cut me off at the end due to a “technical error”. So I finally find a new phone # today – I call it – then I sat on hold – listening to lovely music for almost 40 minutes (thank goodness for speaker phone so I could at least continue working) At least today I talked with a very nice young lady who understood and continued to apologize, but basically told me that once I again I just have to WAIT while they figure out what is going on.
What makes this even more fun is the fact that as I mentioned earlier it is a simple problem of having switched a couple digits on my soc sec # – I asked them to just look at the person whose account did match up to that soc sec # and see if they had been credited with my money – AS IRONY WOULD HAVE IT – that soc sec # – DOES NOT EVEN EXIST ha ha ha ha – so my money has been deposited in a bank (of that I have proof – bank of america that the IRS uses) and they have my money – they can see I paid on time – I actually overpaid and yet where is Neal – still sitting in his recliner at his house – typing on his laptop mad as crap and still with NO CHECKS – this ladies and gentlemen is America and the gov’t system at her finest.
So while Barak is giving beautiful speeches that make Oprah cry and Joe Biden is talking about how they are the right CHANGE that America needs and as McCain is picking his VP candidate and trying to win the vote of so many women in the nation – ALL NEAL WANTS IS TO GET THE MONEY THAT THE GOV’T DECIDED HE WAS OWED ALMOST 4 MONTHS AGO – the funny thing is – the above mentioned people will probably enter the oval office before my check makes it to my own lil church office – oh what an effective and functional system we have.
So if any of these presidential hopefuls wants to sit down and chat and really hear what America has to say – I got a few words I would like to share – and if any of you out there have any connections with the IRS that you want to send my way – FEEL FREE. Now in the grand scheme of things am I suffering – NOT IN THE LEAST – do I still have a great life – MOST DEFINITELY – will God continue to provide – MOST CERTAINLY – but it still chaps my hide to keep getting letters saying I haven’t done the exact thing that I have EXACTLY done for the last 4 months!!!!!
Have a lovely day and everyone ENJOY YOUR LABOR DAY WEEKEND!