So, I spent a good chunk of my day (11am-1:30pm to be exact) hanging out at the IRS. 2 reasons: problem #1 My refund was $2,000 less than it was supposed to be. Problem #2 I received a random refund check for overpayment of business taxes for $27. Two days later I received a bill for underpayment of business taxes for $27 + late fees. Awesome. Here are some observations during my time:

When I arrived at 11am there were two people in front of me. I foolishly hoped that this adventure would last around 45 minutes.

They have a police officer on duty at all times, but no receptionist. I asked the nice officer if she got bored. “Of course. We just sit here all day.” She’s a glorified babysitter. Fortunately, she got to “work” a little bit because I pulled out my cell phone to check my email. To her credit she was right on top of my malfeasance, immediately telling me to put up my phone. No phones allowed in the IRS office. During the time I was there she did a crossword and worked on what I am assuming was a solo version of Mad Libs. She did help two people figure out how to sign in. She told me that sometimes people sit and wait for 30 minutes because they aren’t aware that they have to sign in…because there is no receptionist to instruct people to do so. She continually had to point out to people that she did not work for the IRS and could not answer their questions. She was always nice, which was impressive. If I had the same massive amounts of boredom engrained into my job I would probably resort to annoying people just for kicks…but I digress…

After I had been waiting an hour I asked the nice cop if she knew (from her experience watching this waiting room) how long it might take. She told me that they had 2 people working, but one of them was on lunch break. I still had 2 people in front of me. I decided to run home and grab a book. Don’t get me wrong IRS, I appreciated the travel magazines you provided me; but, after an hour I am kind of an expert on Tuscany.

20 minutes later I return. There is now only one person ahead of me…but not because of IRS progress. The other person, who had been asleep in the waiting chair for 30 minutes prior to my errand-running, had left in disgust (so my newfound waiting room friend informed me). Fast forward>>>>An hour later my turn comes.

Solution to problem #1: The IRS informed me that I needed to file an amended return because someone who entered my return at the IRS messed up. Me: “So, you’re telling me that I have to pay my CPA to file an amended return because someone at the IRS screwed up?” Him: “Yes.” Me: “Sounds great. Thanks for your help. Let’s look at my second problem.” Him: “I guess you could come by with other documentation (copies of my return weren’t enough) and we might be able to fix it that way.” Me: “Can I set an appointment?” Him: “No.”

Solution to problem #2: They don’t know what happened or why, but they cancelled my refund check and applied it toward my account. I forgot to ask if they waived my late fees. If only I’d had more time to think through all of my questions.

Thanks, government, for the IRS. I look forward to your health care.