Another Bewildering Encounter with the IRS

afternoon I got the first communication from the IRS that did not appear to have been automatically generated by computer.

It was a large-sized envelope that was mailed from the IRS’s Covington, Kentucky office at a cost of 97¢ and that had my name and address lettered on the front by hand in ball-point pen.

Inside, though, the personal touch was less-evident. Enclosed were four 8½″x11″ sheets, containing two printouts from the IRS’s internal Employee User Portal web application. The IRS employee who generated these printouts had “IRS Employee Number: PQVCB”.

The printouts show my tax balances as of .

My best guess is that this is their attempt to answer my letter of in which I disputed their figures. But these printouts merely restate their figures without addressing the discrepancy I pointed out to them. And there is some new strange accounting that leaves me scratching my head.

The numbers are fairly straightforward, if you accept their idea of what the “Assessed Balance” is:

ACCOUNT BALANCE:784.21
ACCRUED INTEREST:89.48AS OF:
ACCRUED PENALTY:107.80AS OF:
ACCOUNT BALANCE PLUS ACCRUALS:981.49

** INFORMATION FROM THE RETURN OR AS ADJUSTED **

EXEMPTIONS:01FILING STATUS:Single
ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME:14,064.00
TAXABLE INCOME:5,864.00
TAX PER RETURN:3,271.00
SE TAXABLE INCOME TAXPAYER:21,375.00
SE TAXABLE INCOME SPOUSE:0.00
TOTAL SELF EMPLOYMENT TAX:3,271.00
RETURN DUE DATE OR RETURN RECEIVED DATE (WHICHEVER IS LATER)
PROCESSING DATE

TRANSACTIONS

CODEEXPLANATION OF TRANSACTIONCYCLEDATEAMOUNT
150RETURN FILED AND TAX ASSESSED$3,271.00
430ESTIMATED TAX DECLARATION−$625.25
430ESTIMATED TAX DECLARATION−$625.00
430ESTIMATED TAX DECLARATION−$625.38
430ESTIMATED TAX DECLARATION−$625.38
276FAILURE TO PAY TAX PENALTY$7.70
196INTEREST ASSESSED20062008$6.52
971INTENT TO LEVY COLLECTION DUE
PROCESS NOTICE
LEVY NOTICE ISSUED
$0.00

In the tax year, though, something unexpected crops up:

ACCOUNT BALANCE:4,170.35
ACCRUED INTEREST:123.34AS OF:
ACCRUED PENALTY:98.05AS OF:
ACCOUNT BALANCE PLUS ACCRUALS:4,391.74

** INFORMATION FROM THE RETURN OR AS ADJUSTED **

EXEMPTIONS:01FILING STATUS:Single
ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME:13,466.00
TAXABLE INCOME:5,016.00
TAX PER RETURN:3,952.00
SE TAXABLE INCOME TAXPAYER:25,829.00
SE TAXABLE INCOME SPOUSE:0.00
TOTAL SELF EMPLOYMENT TAX:3,952.00
RETURN DUE DATE OR RETURN RECEIVED DATE (WHICHEVER IS LATER)
PROCESSING DATE

TRANSACTIONS

CODEEXPLANATION OF TRANSACTIONCYCLEDATEAMOUNT
150RETURN FILED AND TAX ASSESSED$3,952.00
766REFUNDABLE CREDIT−$25.61
776INTEREST DUE TAXPAYER−$4.39
170ESTIMATED TAX PENALTY$172.00
276FAILURE TO PAY TAX PENALTY$39.22
196INTEREST ASSESSED$37.13
971INTENT TO LEVY COLLECTION DUE
PROCESS NOTICE
LEVY NOTICE ISSUED
$0.00

What are these two items about?

766REFUNDABLE CREDIT−$25.61
776INTEREST DUE TAXPAYER−$4.39

Here again, I’ve only got guesswork to go on. Like most people, I applied for a $25.00 refundable credit for overpaid telephone excise taxes. That was the only refundable credit I applied for, and it’s close enough to the $25 in the table above that I have to guess that’s what it’s referring to. Where the other 61¢ comes in, I have no idea. And how an additional interest charge comes into play is a mystery to me as well. Do you suppose they’ll keep compounding this interest as well until they manage to seize money from me or until the statute of limitations runs out?

In any case, it’s bafflingly weird. It looks like if you paid your taxes like you were supposed to , you could get a $25.00 credit, but if you filed your taxes but didn’t pay, the IRS computer says you’re due a $30.00 credit instead! And “PQVCB” is a number. And “Assessed Balance” equals the actual assessed balance plus the first of the penalty & interest values but not the rest of them. Strange things happen in the IRS’s Mathmagic Land.

For previous installments in the nasty-letters-from-the-IRS series, see:


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