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View Full Version : IRS visits Sacramento carwash in pursuit of 4 cents. Seriously.


Surely
Mar 17, 2010, 01:26 AM
From here: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/03/13/2604016/irs-suits-pay-visit-to-car-wash.html

It was every businessperson's nightmare.

Arriving at Harv's Metro Car Wash in midtown Wednesday afternoon were two dark-suited IRS agents demanding payment of delinquent taxes. "They were deadly serious, very aggressive, very condescending," says Harv's owner, Aaron Zeff.

The really odd part of this: The letter that was hand-delivered to Zeff's on-site manager showed the amount of money owed to the feds was ... 4 cents.

Inexplicably, penalties and taxes accruing on the debt – stemming from the 2006 tax year – were listed as $202.31, leaving Harv's with an obligation of $202.35.

Zeff, who also owns local parking lots and is the president of the Midtown Business Association, finds the situation a bit comical.

"It's hilarious," he says, "that two people hopped in a car and came down here for just 4 cents. I think (the IRS) may have a problem with priorities."

Now he's trying to figure out how penalties and interest could climb so high on such a small debt. He says he's never been told he owes any taxes or that he's ever incurred any late-payment penalties in the four years he's owned Harv's.

In fact, he provided us with an Oct. 22, 2009, letter from the IRS that states Harv's "has filed all required returns and addressed any balances due."

IRS spokesman Jesse Weller isn't commenting "due to privacy and disclosure laws."

Zeff says he's as offended as much as anything else by what he considers rude behavior by the IRS guys. While at Harv's, he sniffs, "they didn't even get a car wash."

Just wow. I mean, what were they thinking?

sanPietro98
Mar 17, 2010, 08:01 AM
And how much money was expended in pursuing $0.04?

sushi
Mar 17, 2010, 08:21 AM
Common sense does not seem to prevail in this situation.

GFLPraxis
Mar 17, 2010, 10:33 AM
And how much money was expended in pursuing $0.04?

From the article:

Now he's trying to figure out how penalties and interest could climb so high on such a small debt.

If I understand this right, the IRS agents are trying to collect a larger sum based on the interest and penalties on four cents over four years (since 2006), not actually four cents.

Ridiculous, but they can probably get away with it.

Surely
Mar 17, 2010, 10:38 AM
From the article:


If I understand this right, the IRS agents are trying to collect a larger sum based on the interest and penalties on four cents over four years (since 2006), not actually four cents.

Ridiculous, but they can probably get away with it.

Yes, but how can 4 years of interest and penalties be over $200 on 4 cents?

Also, see this from the article:

In fact, he provided us with an Oct. 22, 2009, letter from the IRS that states Harv's "has filed all required returns and addressed any balances due."

Somone at the IRS should have done a little homework before they sent two agents to harrass a taxpayer. Or maybe they could have tried a phone call first.

MattSepeta
Mar 17, 2010, 02:58 PM
Big Government.

"And how much money was expended in pursuing $0.04? "

Doesn't matter! What are we going to do if the IRS is operating inefficiently? Hire the other guy? Ha.

There is no competition in government, hence, the horror stories we hear of Govt and Govt employees wasting our money on crap like this.

And to think that Ron Paul was practically laughed out of candidacy.... Some day soon America will be ready for his ideas (hopefully) :cool:

ucfgrad93
Mar 17, 2010, 03:06 PM
Common sense does not seem to prevail in this situation.

Of course not, its the government we're talking about.

Surely
Mar 17, 2010, 03:08 PM
This doesn't really have anything to do with big government.

It's all about the incompetence of these particular IRS agents and whoever ordered them to go on their field trip.

Why they couldn't analyze the situation and come up with a better, more cost-effective solution, is beyond me.

Phil A.
Mar 17, 2010, 04:08 PM
Well, they only have to do that another 314,616,681,372,550 times and the US National Debt would be taken care of ;)

MattSepeta
Mar 17, 2010, 04:20 PM
This doesn't really have anything to do with big government.

It's all about the incompetence of these particular IRS agents and whoever ordered them to go on their field trip.

Why they couldn't analyze the situation and come up with a better, more cost-effective solution, is beyond me.


You just proved yourself wrong.

You say it has nothing to do with Big government, then in your next breathe you wonder why they did not analyze the situation better.

Answer: Because it does not matter! They (IRS agents) are not going to lose their jobs. They are probably not going to be punished or disciplined. They are not losing any money personally by wasting their time/our money.

Surely
Mar 17, 2010, 04:44 PM
Still no.

Dumbasses ≠ Big Government

BittenApple
Mar 17, 2010, 06:44 PM
Still no.

Dumbasses ≠ Big Government

Big government is inefficient (at least in this case). Inefficiency leads to the people employed by the government to become inefficient (by not thinking straight and finding the most reasonable way to approach this problem, they are inefficient, in this they case they are also dumb asses).

dukebound85
Mar 17, 2010, 06:46 PM
Big government is inefficient (at least in this case). Inefficiency leads to the people employed by the government to become inefficient (by not thinking straight and finding the most reasonable way to approach this problem, they are inefficient, in this they case they are also dumb asses).

Uh what? Your logic makes no sense

Knowlege Bomb
Mar 17, 2010, 09:04 PM
Yes, but how can 4 years of interest and penalties be over $200 on 4 cents?

Late fees/penalties for delinquency are going to be the same amount for $.04 as they are for $80 worth of debt.

Frankly, I'm surprised the outstanding balance wasn't more after four years of IRS late fees.

rhsgolfer33
Mar 17, 2010, 11:31 PM
This is an interesting story, considering when tax returns are prepared all the numbers, including the amount owed, are rounded to the nearest dollar...

Surely
Mar 17, 2010, 11:42 PM
This is an interesting story, considering when tax returns are prepared all the numbers, including the amount owed, are rounded to the nearest dollar...

I was thinking the same thing when I first read the story.....

rhsgolfer33
Mar 18, 2010, 01:42 AM
I was thinking the same thing when I first read the story.....

Yeah, definitely the first thing I thought, lol.

I guess it doesn't have to be from his actual return, it might be FICA for his employees.

Either way, a letter probably would have been more in order rather than a full on IRS agent visit. If I were him, I'd probably just pay the $200 to make it all go away; not much sense fighting it when your bill will easily exceed the $200.

Surely
Mar 18, 2010, 02:05 AM
Too bad the IRS agents involved in making the decision to go after that guy didn't think that way in the first place. But yeah, I'd probably advise him to pay it instead of fight it as well.

Abstract
Mar 18, 2010, 05:13 AM
Just wow. I mean, what were they thinking?
"Whatever. We get paid $27 per hour no matter how much we collect." ;)

Late fees/penalties for delinquency are going to be the same amount for $.04 as they are for $80 worth of debt.


You really think that he'd be charged around $200 in late fees if he owed $40000 instead of $0.04?

SactoGuy18
Mar 18, 2010, 06:29 AM
Penalties over a four cents bill. :rolleyes: Doesn't the IRS have a monetary tolerance amount for math errors like California does with math errors on the 540 series of state income tax forms?

Kamera RAWr
Mar 18, 2010, 08:40 AM
Ahh, but if the IRS let everyone get away with .04, that would be over 12 million dollars! Think of all the waste that could go to ;)

Mousse
Mar 18, 2010, 10:05 AM
Uh what? Your logic makes no sense

What he's trying to say is that Big Government leads to a bunch of people trying to cover their (_!_). That's why they file requisition forms, repair order forms, damage report forms ad nauseum (in triplicates) just to have a light bulb changed out. In other words, Big Government attracts the epitome of inefficiency--bureaucrats. At least, I think that's what he's saying.:D

codymac
Mar 18, 2010, 10:39 AM
What's even more comical about this is that we can round to the nearest dollar on federal tax filings.

Rootus
Mar 18, 2010, 12:39 PM
What he's trying to say is that Big Government leads to a bunch of people trying to cover their (_!_). That's why they file requisition forms, repair order forms, damage report forms ad nauseum (in triplicates) just to have a light bulb changed out. In other words, Big Government attracts the epitome of inefficiency--bureaucrats. At least, I think that's what he's saying.:D Anybody who thinks that attitude is unique to the government has never worked for a corporation of any significant size.

ChrisA
Mar 18, 2010, 05:37 PM
This is an interesting story, considering when tax returns are prepared all the numbers, including the amount owed, are rounded to the nearest dollar...

No, the rules allow you to round or not. You are required to pick one method and then stick with it

pukifloyd
Mar 18, 2010, 07:13 PM
hahah this is awesome :p

rhsgolfer33
Mar 18, 2010, 08:37 PM
No, the rules allow you to round or not. You are required to pick one method and then stick with it

I've never met a CPA or used tax software that doesn't round, so I'd be a little surprised if his return wasn't rounded. I also don't know any tax professors that don't teach their students to round. Its certainly possible that his return wasn't rounded, but if he used a professional to prepare the return, I'd be a little surprised.

There have been other cases (http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2009/01/lawyer-battles-with-irs.html) where this has happened in regards to FICA taxes and, to me, it seems more likely that this is where the $.04 liability came form.

alfmil
Mar 19, 2010, 10:09 AM
Anybody who thinks that attitude is unique to the government has never worked for a corporation of any significant size.

I am curious how many people who comment on how inefficient the government is, ever worked at a government agency.

I spent 12 years working for three different US government agencies. The last of which, I was a white collar crime investigator. We had to write out the same goal sheets that people who work for private companies do. It was practically identical to the format that my wife, who works for an investment bank, is required to use. Further, since the early 2000s we would get a raise based on how we did on these evaluations - no guaranteed raises (although we still got a COLA).

One goal was to set a number arrests you will try to make during that fiscal year. If you set a low number, your goal sheet won’t be accepted by management. So you set a higher number. Sounds good right? The best and the brightest get rewarded!

Here is the problem. You set a goal of 30 arrests. Why would you spend a year (or more) working on a huge international ID theft ring that may have hundreds of victims and millions of dollars in losses, but in the end only four arrests? You would be a pretty poor performer. Rather, you would look for 30 quick, easy cases, such as a meth head stealing credit cards out of mailboxes or a college student who printed a fake check. Few victims, low dollar loss, probation for the perp, but you are the best and the brightest!

I suggested using number of victims and dollar losses as a way to rate an investigator. It was not done while I worked there because those high numbers sound bad whereas a high number of arrests made us seem very effective.

Of course this doesn’t address the other problems inherent with individual goal setting - it discourages teamwork (which is probably why people in various agencies don’t work well together since they all want to get the individual credit) and it discourages work on large, complex cases.

So while I am skeptical that these agents were not acting after letters went unanswered or the business owner’s claims were rejected, I can totally understand why they went out there. Should be an easy stat[istic] for them - an easy case completion as the business owner is likely to be able to pay that amount due right away. Following what corporate America taught the government about individual goal setting, these agents are clearly the best and the brightest!

andiwm2003
Mar 19, 2010, 10:57 AM
haha,

back in germany I have trouble with the german version of the IRS as well. I left germany 10 years ago and live and work in the US. I still have to file Taxes in the US for an apartment I own there. Every year I file the income from the apartment and the same IRS guy is working on my case (it goes by first letter of your name iI think). He then claims I'm not living in the US and I'm concealing my salary from the german IRS and commit tax fraud and he starts a prosecution of the case. My tax lawyer sends all the documentation to the court and the case gets struck down.

That happened now 7 times in the last 7 years.

The german IRS guy has some personality disorder and can't be fired due to labor laws because of this. I'm all ok with people having diorders but why does he think he is allowed to cause trouble because of his disorder? So I guess I have to live with this or change my name to a different first letter to have my taxes processed by somebody else. Well the fuss costs me about 200 bucks a year in added fees for my tax lawyer. I guess I'll survive.:D