Mar 15, 2013

Upon Hearing From the Government

Yesterday morning the phone rang, and I looked at the caller ID:  US Govt.  Given that we are the bosses of the US Govt, it could be a bit surprising that I am not delighted to see that they are calling me.

I am used to getting calls and letters from the US Govt, having had several disputes with them over filings for both The Brand Strategy Group (aka Garvey plus Gramann Inc) and Lanikai Bath and Body.  I have had only one (small) personal dispute in more than 40 years of paying taxes, and I settled that one because they were right.  All others:  no settlements. (I win)

The call yesterday was regarding a difference between the 941 filings for 2011 and the Social Security payments on behalf of my employees and the deductions from their checks.  I told the U.S. Govt representative, Monica, that I would call back.  Shortly thereafter, I remembered that 2011 was the year my accountant’s basement office got flooded and that I have no copies of my 941s for that year.

I busied myself with the General Ledger for Lanikai Bath and Body and the Employee Earnings Summaries to cobble together an approximation of what the 941s might have said.  This is extra confusing to me because all 941 filings are now online, and the US Govt should have copies of same.  I will phone Monica of the US Govt back tomorrow.

Here is a hint about what I learned from dealing with the US Govt.  Once they find you, they really like to correspond with you.  They are anxious to hear from you, and while they may not want you to write back, if you do, and you should, they will write you and say that it will take them 90 days to look into what has been described in your reply.  Never, never ignore your mail from the US Govt.  They do not take kindly to that.

Since they work for us, it is interesting that they never say thank you.  What if each person from the IRS called five people a day to say thank you?   What would it be like if you saw US Govt on your caller ID and picked up the phone to hear someone say thank you for paying your taxes (which you obviously have) or they would most likely not be in touch with you by regular mail or telephone?

The number of employees of the IRS part of the US Govt was about 50,000 in 2012.  The US population is currently 314.69 million people.  Let’s say that half of them are children, and therefore not taxpayers.  That leaves 157.345 million people.  And, according to Mr. Romney, 47% of us consider ourselves victims and do not pay taxes.  That leaves 73,521,150 people.

If 50,000 IRS workers make 5 calls a day, or a total of 250,000 calls per day, it will take 296 days to call everyone who is a likely taxpayer and thank them.  Less than a year.

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Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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