so i'm in the process of making sure i render unto caesar exactly what i ought and find myself on the phone with a federal tax guy because of a scary letter i got in the mail last week.
'so...apparently, i under-reported my income for 2003? i swear, i filed electronically and i thought it took all three of my W2s!'
'really! i don't know what happened. maybe it timed out, maybe i just misunderstood - but i have all the W2s! i can refile! i'll do whatever - i just can't afford this back tax thing...it'll kill me.'
'and i don't know what happened with my other tax refunds, you know? for tax year 2003, 2004, 2005. i mean, did you guys take them, all of them? are you about to garnish my wages? am i in trouble? i SWEAR i'll send you all the supporting documents - and they took taxes out! i'm not trying to get away with anything!'
have i mentioned i'm having this conversation while i'm at work? everyone can hear my panic.
meanwhile, tax guy is either laughing at me or choking. 'ms. Ding, you're fine. yes, we took your refunds and applied them to your tax debt. but now you're square. you don't owe us anything. we owe you nothing. we're square.'
'are you serious? really? like, nothing?'
tax guy doesn't say anything for a while. 'like, nothing.'
'jeebus, thank goodness. you have no idea how happy you've just made me.'
'i don't believe you but i'll take your word for it.'
'so...the return i just filed now. i'll get that refund, right?'
tax guy sighs. 'yes.'
'thank you, ID number 0657398. i appreciate all your help. really.'
'my pleasure, ms. Ding.'
my motto: when under severe threat by the IRS, playing dumb and panicky is a perfectly acceptable survival method.