Saturday, January 28, 2012
A Sad Tax Story
I recently read a tax case I did not like. The IRS was pursuing action against a woman in Tennessee. My daughter presently goes to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, so perhaps it was that geographical connection that made me look at the case.
The IRS wanted to garnish her paycheck and levy her car. The woman resisted and represented herself. She eventually took her case pro se before the Tax Court. Read the following letter she wrote the Court and tell me that you do not feel some anger against the IRS.
To Whom It May Concern,
I don’t know what you want to know cause I don’t understand all the legal stuff you sent me. I can’t afford a lawyer. And the closest legal aid is in Knoxville 30 miles away. My poor car will not go that far. So I will start at the beginning of my story and see if you can help me.
I was in an unhealthy relationship for many years. During a great deal of that time my husband was doing alcohol and drugs. I had 2 children plus his 3 to take care of. I had been doing janitorial work at a strip mall * * *. It was the only place that I could work that I could take my [then] 3 year old daughter with me. I could not support my family and pay day care. * * * My husband took care of bills and such cause he demanded that I turn over my money. We even got a divorce during that time cause I was not obeying him.
Now I am not looking for sympathy just understanding. Do you know how hard it is to be a single parent? * * * I have a high school education and nothing else.
It was nearly five years before I was notified of a problem by the I.R.S. Danny [petitioner’s former spouse] was suppose to be doing taxes. He even made me sign a form that because he made more money he could claim my kids on his taxes cause we were no longer legally married.
I got all the W-2’s from the I.R.S. except 2005 that they still have not sent me. That is why they are not done. I did all those taxes and forfeited the refunds. I do not remember what that total came to.
But it was enough to pay I would say most of back taxes. The 2007 taxes were late and I don’t know why they didn’t arrive. I sent a second copy in as soon as my son gave me my copy. He had my copy for college financial aid and he lost them for a bit of time.
I am not a rich person. I work in a job so I can be home with my daughter. I left my husband in July after he threatened to beat my daughter with a baseball bat. Beating me is one thing but I could not have him beating my girl. So I am a single parent again. Right now we have not had much work in nearly a year. I have rent of 600 a mo. Utilities of 150 and get food stamps or I wouldn’t eat. I make about 700-800 [per] month. There are no better jobs in our town. My daughter is only 11 so its not like I can leave her alone at night or on weekends. D.H.S. says it’s not even legal. She is too young. There is no child care and I have no family here. I have pulmonary fibrosis that makes me sick all the time and the diagnosis says I have about 10 yrs to live. Right now I can work thank God.
I did my taxes this year [for 2008] and you are getting a little over $4,700. I’m not asking for much just a break. You can have my tax returns [refunds ?] I don’t care. Well I do that is a tremendous loss but oh well. I don’t have any money to send you on a monthly basis. Can we stop all the penalties. They are killing me. I will never be able to pay it off. * * * I let a relationship screw me up. I am truly sorry for that and am begging for a lifeline here. You can come to my home and see for yourself. I don’t have fancy t.v.’s or even cable except for internet. I can’t afford a phone. My clothes have holes in them. I even cut my own hair. If I could pay this off faster I would just to stop the nightmares it gives me.
The Tax Court told the IRS to stop it. I am not going to go through the tax back-and-forth, because this situation should never have gotten this far. The IRS was upset because this poor woman did not do everything perfectly, and rather than exercise common sense some government-idiot-with-a-pension had to press the point.
Were it up to me, I would find and fire that idiot.