The Power of Paying Attention

My husband brought the mail in Thursday, but thankfully I didn’t see it until yesterday morning. Before work, he tossed a nice little official-looking letter from the IRS, addressed to Running Ink Press, onto my side of the dining room table. I thought to myself, “Uh-oh, I wonder if I checked a wrong box or something on the business return.”

Tax (Photo credit: 401K)

Well, that was sort of the issue.

I opened the envelope, pulled out the letter, and promptly had heart failure. Not a “did you mean to check this box” kind of letter, but a “you owe $4,680 in late-filing penalties” letter.

SAY WHAT?! I knew for a fact that I sent the tax filing in LONG before April 16. So I pawed through my file of RIP-related paperwork and found the return. Dated February whatever. Form 1065, as it should be. For tax year 2010.


My dumb ass used the wrong year tax form for my business. So imagine my shock when I got hit with a bill for $4,680.

So when I got to work yesterday morning, I called the IRS. I sat on hold for 25 minutes and managed to clear three student files off my desk during the wait (yes, I actually did the  required work on them, too). Then I was finally connected with an awesome IRS agent with a delightful East Coast accent. She went through her spiel, giving me her name, employee number, blah blah blah, and then asked me how she could help me.

I said, “Well, I HOPE you can help me. My dumb ass used the wrong year tax form for my business. So imagine my shock when I got hit with a bill for $4,680 for late filing penalties when we didn’t even open the business until January 2011. Now how do I fix this without giving you a lot of money I don’t have, because frankly, we’re in the red and it’s either I pay you or I run the business, but I can’t do both.”

She started laughing. And she laughed through the whole conversation. She kept apologizing for laughing, but I just kept telling her, “My dumb ass deserves to be laughed at.”

Turns out it’s an easy fix. But I have to request penalty relief for 2011 because this year’s tax return is considered late now. Go figure.

I guess this is a lesson in the power of paying attention – and perhaps the lesson of “scotch is OK when you’re trying to understand algebra, but it pretty much sucks when you’re completing federal tax filings.”

And Ms. Katrina of the IRS: I’m glad I could make you laugh today, and I’m here to assure the rest of America that the IRS does, indeed, have a sense of humor.



5 thoughts on “The Power of Paying Attention

  1. Lauralynn Elliott says:

    My question is…where did you GET a tax form for 2010? LOL I actually filed a sales tax form (for my day job) online and dated it for the wrong month and had a similar situation.

    When you were saying the IRS had a sense of humor, it reminded of one of my favorite lines in the movie Men in Black. “We at the FBI have no sense of humor that we’re aware of.” 🙂

    1. Sharon says:

      hahaha I LOVE that line in that movie! I got the form on the IRS website in early 2011 because I wanted to have a look at it before it came time to file one. I saved it on my computer. Didn’t even think about it being the wrong year when I did the taxes. I bet Ms. Katrina is still chuckling.

  2. NL Gervasio says:

    *falls over laughing* I’m glad that letter came to you and not me. I definitely would have had a heart attack…or my head may have exploded.

    1. Sharon says:

      So am I! They’re still considering my request for penalty relief, but hopefully they will understand that it was simply an error. lol

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