Monday, April 7, 2008

Why the IRS has a Rotten Reputation

I’ve wanted to write a post about getting audited by the IRS for the past week but this post has eluded me. At first I thought, how ironic, getting audited by the IRS. You see, I used to be an auditor but I didn’t work for the IRS. I’m an accountant, and right after college I worked for a public accounting firm as an auditor, and after that, as an internal auditor for a large company. The shoe is now on the other foot, so to speak, and the auditor has become an auditee.

At first I was going to write a witty post about how my experiences as an auditor has helped me prepare for this moment and how the poor IRS should watch their back because I was “bringin’ it.” I imagined my examination would be a big joke, like on Seinfeld: remember that episode where Elaine had to justify claiming a water pick and a down comforter as business expenses? She proved it by using the water pick to water her plants in her office and by wearing the down comforter as a toga? I wish my experience was something like that, but getting audited by the IRS is every bit as daunting and nerve-wracking as it sounds.

I’ll spare you the details – basically the results of our audit came down to a single statement I made during the examination, a simple statement that was twisted and misconstrued to the point where it resembled nothing of what I meant to convey. During my examination I had to dig my nails into my palms to prevent myself from having an outburst (and also from punching the IRS jerk in the face). Now I have to write a very detailed letter to the examiner (aka IRS jerk) supporting my position, as well as produce additional documents. All on account of one sentence! One simple, harmless sentence that I clarified a million times during our conversation. If there is a lesson learned here it’s to watch every single thing you say to the IRS because they will twist your words to fit their interpretation, and that means paying them money.

As soon as the IRS jerk heard something to "nail" us, he went to town and showed us the IRS code supporting his argument. Despite giving many examples of how the IRS code DID NOT apply to us, the jerk still soldiered on, almost gleeful that he “caught” us doing something wrong. My dad thinks that people like that love putting other people down because they couldn’t get a job elsewhere and are socially retarded. Before the audit I would’ve disagreed and said that IRS auditors are just doing their job but now I am in total agreement with him. I now think 90% of people that work for the IRS are socially retarded and/or have poop for brains (I would’ve written something else but this blog is PG).

So now I am writing my fact-laden letter to the IRS and collecting documentation for my position. If anything, my experience has helped me prepare for moments like these, and more importantly, put me in touch with very good, experienced writers to proofread my response. So take that IRS jerk and shove it in your file cabinet!

1 comment:

Camels & Chocolate said...

This TERRIFIES me! As a freelancer, and one who travels quite a lot for her job, I write off EVERYTHING. And by write off, I totally mean estimate. Let's just hope my CPA (AKA MY DAD) knows what he's doing!!!