Seriously? They said what? Aw c’mon now…
I’m happily self-employed (HippieBoy Design for all your Graphic Design, Web Design, and Photographic Needs!), which means my taxes aren’t being automagically taken out of my paycheck, and I never know exactly how much I’ll need to pay in for taxes when they come due each year. It’s always a bit of a surprise. We try to balance it out by taking extra taxes out of Beloved Wifey’s paychecks throughout the year. It works, sort of.
Last year it turned out that we miscalculated, and I had to pay in a considerable chunk of change – much more than we’d anticipated. So we set up a payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and started making monthly payments. We’re happy to pay our fair share – I enjoy having roads, clean water, safe food… It’s all good.
Worried that we may accidentally forget to make a payment (they didn’t send us a “payment book” or anything), Beloved Wifey called the IRS to set up automatic withdrawals so the monthly payment would come directly out of our account. Won’t that be convenient! She was on the phone for over an hour and a half making the arrangements – something that takes, literally, two minutes to do when do it online through a private company. (Have you ever seen the “Bill Me Monthly” checkbox on your phone bill? That’s all we wanted to do.) An hour and a half! That was in April.
The IRS people said it would take a “month or two” for the automatic payments to start coming out of our account. “The payments are due on the fifteenth of each month,” the lady told Beloved Wifey, “if the payment is late you’ll be held responsible and there will be a penalty. You’ll need to send payments in until we start the automatic withdrawals. Once we start the automatic withdrawals you’ll see it come out of your bank account on the fifteenth of each month until your bill is paid.”
My wife interrupted, “Wait, I don’t understand. We won’t know when the automatic payments start? We have to wait until midnight on the fifteenth to see if you’ve taken the payment out of our account before we can send a check? But if you didn’t take the automatic payment out, we’ll be penalized for a late payment?”
“Yes. And the penalty will go on your record.”
That was April. Our last payment is in December. It’s now November – they STILL haven’t started the automatic payments! Each month we have to wait with bated breath on the fifteenth to see if they’ve taken their money, then have to scramble to get on the phone with them to make a payment over the phone to avoid a penalty.
Seriously – we WANT to pay our fair share of taxes, we really do. But it seems like the IRS is actively trying to make it as difficult as possible for us to do so.