Posted by: David Stewart | February 7, 2010

The tax man commeth

What are some of the worst sentences I have ever heard?

“There has been an accident”

“Is there a doctor on the airplane?”

We are being audited by the IRS

This last sentence was pronounced on us during the worst week of the year that I wrote about earlier. It came amidst so much other raw news that my reaction at the time was to laugh.

If you are not an American, the Internal Revenue Service is our federal taxation agency. Last November, we got a letter from them, asking us to produce proof of all of our charitable gifts claimed on that year’s tax form. I guess giving 10% of your gross pay is considered a problem.

Deb put together a packet for them which included copies of all of our receipts and sent it off. We were advised by our tax preparer that we would likely only hear back from them if there was a problem. If everything was OK, we would never hear from them.

So another chapter in that horrible week has now closed. We got a letter Friday which began:

We are pleased to tell you we did not make any changes to the tax reported on your return.

After this opening sentence, nothing much mattered in the letter. “Pleased?” So am I. Any explanation for why they audited us? Any tips on how to avoid an audit in the future?

In fact, the rest of the letter was filled with provisos, qualifiers and other legal mumbo-jumbo, giving all of the reasons that don’t apply to us, but which explain why we might owe them money anyway.

But what was really charming about this letter was that it was post-dated. The date on the letter is February 8, 2010, and it arrived at our house on February 5. Now, I don’t suppose they would accept a future-dated check from us for any tax we owe, but I guess it’s OK for them.



  1. In light of that I’m going to post date my 2009 taxes for 2099. Seems like a wise plan.

    Glad everything worked out there.

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