Skip to comments.Hate Government? Sit Down Before You Read This
Posted on 01/17/2016 4:54:39 AM PST by Kaslin
I consistently state our government is too big and it cannot handle all the responsibilities it continues to take on itself. President Obama has stated we, the American citizens, keep asking the federal government to do more. Even if you believed that, he could Just Say No. After you read this you will understand why.
My friend Steve received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It stated that the five-figure amount of money he had overpaid on his 2014 tax return and had asked to be applied to his 2015 return was being confiscated for child support payments in New York. Steve had grown up in New York, but had left there 40 years ago. Any children he had left behind (none were left) would be fully grown. His own children were born and raised in California where he is a resident.
Steve called me in a total and justifiable panic. Though he is also a CPA, he had no idea how he was going to get his money back. But it gets worse from here. As he tried to fight this he had ended up shutting down his business for the better part of a week.
His first call was to the IRS. If you have not called the IRS lately then you do not know it is a totally dysfunctional operation. You can barely get a person on the phone. Where I used to call, I mostly just send a FedEx letter today. The practitioner's hotline is still in existence, but completely useless as no one answers the line anymore. When Steve got through to the IRS they told him they could not do anything to stop the matter. He had to contact an entity he never knew existed - The Bureau of The Fiscal Service (BFS)
The BFS is an entity you should be aware of because they dispense all the checks for the federal government. It is a department of the U.S. Treasury. In 2012 it was formed by combining the Bureau of the Public Debt and Financial Management Services. They also make payments for state governments on collections of monies for delinquent child support. Steve was provided a number by the IRS for the Bureau and he was able to eventually speak to a person there. The person told Steve that the child support payments were tied to his social security number, but the name was not his. Despite that, the BFS would not stop the payment. The BFS informed him to contact the entity making the request for the money.
Steve then contacted the NY Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (NY OTDA) that handles these matters. He was told they have no claim under his name or his social security number nor that of his wife or ex-wife. They said he had to contact his local office. Steve was informed there were 62 such offices that he would have to contact to try and stop this fraudulent order to the BFS. NY OTDA told him his only recourse was a civil action in NY against the person receiving his money that they would not identify to him because that was protected information. Steve was now convinced his money was going out the door.
Steve went back to the BFS and informed them NY had no claim. The BFS said that the only way to stop the payment was to have the agency that was requesting it cancel it. They said they could not stop nor delay a claim.
So far there is the original sin - the IRS letter gave Steve no time to clear this matter. And now there is the second sin. Despite clear evidence from a reliable source that there was potential fraud, the BFS was unwilling or unable to stop the payment of the funds to a questionable source. Can you imagine calling your credit card company, telling them there was a questionable charge on your statement and being told "tough, just pay it, we cannot do anything"? The third sin, a citizen being told that he cannot stop an improper payment that one agency said they never requested and the other one saying they need an agency request to stop, but no one, yes no one, will pick up a phone and clear this up.
Steve and his wife had two remaining hopes. Steve knew me and his wife knew the District Director for their Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA). We both went to work. The BFS has direct lines for the media and Congress. I fought and got Marshall Kofler, manager of the media relations department. He assured me the BFS would help to remedy the situation. But I am betting that Maral Karaccusian and Claudia Aragon from Bass's office had more impact than I did. Miraculously, Steve received a check for the full amount of his overpayment.
This scary story of how the government can commandeer a citizen's money without proper controls staggers the mind. In my discussions with Mr. Kofler, he repeatedly stated that before any money is disbursed that the BFS receives a certification from the party requesting the payment.
These questions were posed:
1. Why once the employee knew there was discrepancy why did they not stop the process?
2. Since the State of NY had not requested the disbursement, who certified the request?
3. What procedures has the BFS established in the last five years to counter fraud? The IRS has nearly a million fraudulent claims annually, and the CIA and Defense Dept. have been hacked. How have you changed your procedures?
4. You require that the person whose money you are taking has been notified by the agency that is requesting the confiscation. Steve received no letters from the State of NY. What did you do to verify there were any sent and received?
Mr. Kofler has had no answer for any of these questions.
The bureau, which is responsible for making most of the payments of the United States government, apparently has out-of-date procedures and lacks adequate controls for disbursements in our modern society. They take orders from other entities that can take your money if you have an overpayment with the IRS and apply it to a claim without proper verification.
Steve was lucky and let's make it clear it was luck. But if something like this happened to you, you may not be so lucky. He lost a week of his life chasing this and had to cancel a vacation. I told you to sit down before you read this. It is just scary.
Strikes me that one major GOP contender wants to abolish the IRS while the other major contender wants to expand it’s power and reach. Hmmm
i fear the bureaucracy is far too big and too many hands are in the cookie jar for it to be turned back and much smaller/less powerful,
i think Trump thinks big government can work with the right man at the helm. But he wouldn’t be at the helm forever,
if i’m wrong, and I would be thrilled to be, has he ever mentioned slashing and burning the agencies?
Cruz has mentioned giving power back to the states and sending all the IRS workers to the border (of course he didn’t mean it), but i don’t know if he will slash and burn either.
It’s obvious that Trump likes big government and bureaucracy.
Why on earth would you ever use a five figure tax refund to pay forward next years taxes?
That’s the original sin right there...
I usually overpay because I would rather get a check than write one. It might be time to rethink that plan.
It’s Steve’s fault. He shouldn’t have overpaid his taxes.
That’s why people who let themselves get ripped off through the year and then get giddy when they “get money back” are damn fools. I adjust my withholdings at both jobs to the point where I will send the regime a certified check (from a different bank, not my own) each April.
well, he certainly has used it to his advantage in the past.
and five figures isn’t my returns, it’s my salary!!! lol
And it has never occurred to him that he should.
However, he's not a bad person, and we certainly shouldn't hold him personally responsible for anything. (/s)
I remember a comment Cruz made about the mega data, something like after IRS why would you trust another government agency with your info.
I didn’t have fear for my info but they could screw anyone any time. I’m glad they dumped the mega data.
They didn’t report a W2 to SS. Won’t bore you with details but they were idiots by mail and phone. SS has told me they will fix when I retire.
No it's obvious that he hates government bureaucracy. If you don't know about the skating rink in Central Park, look it up.
So a CPA overpaid his taxes by a five-figure sum? Stopped reading right there.
In world history, there is one distinguishing characteristic of when governments succeed, and when governments fail. It is a very easy to understand ratio.
It is called “government efficiency”, and it is simply a ratio of what a government promises to do, and what it actually delivers on those promises.
If a government promises to do just a few things, and delivers, it will survive. Likewise, if it promises more, and at least delivers a lot of what it has promised, it will survive. But a government that promises and does not deliver is likely on the way out.
The real oddity is that it does not matter what form government takes: republican democracy, kingdom, tyranny, etc.
And even stranger, it does not matter *what* the government promises. It can promise bad, negative things that the people do not want; but if it delivers on those things, it will likely survive.
Now this being said, what of the US government? Never in the history of mankind has a government promised to do a fraction of what the US government has promised. So it is up to the people to judge whether or not it has kept or is keeping its promises.
By general agreement, it has failed in far too many things to survive, so it must fall. So the candidate who promises to dismantle the most of the dysfunctional parts of the government is likely going to ascend.
As with any government caught up in its overreach and bloat, it will strive to keep “the fat”, even as it offers to “cut the muscle and bone”, so the leader must be strong enough to insist, and ignore the whines and pleas of the Mandarin bureaucracy, the parasites, hangers on and other villains and lickspittles.
If he succeeds he will be a hero for a hundred years. If he fails, someone else will be chosen for the job.
This sounds like another argument to never overpay your taxes or have more withheld than you expect to pay. Even so, I suppose the IRS could place a lien against you.
Happened to me with CA taxes. Levied our bank accounts and safe deposit box. We didn’t live in CA.
Took a tax attorney in CA, $500 and 3 months to get it back.
What a nightmare. Of course there was no apology.
Naturally, and if there had been an apology it would probably been meaningless
Most federal employees with office jobs are teleworking under a program started by our current president.
Teleworkers don't answer their office phones.
I haven't successfully reached anyone at OPM by phone since I retired, meaning I haven't talked to a single government employee (other than Social Security)since I left.
All communication is either email or snail mail.
Most federal employees with office jobs are teleworking (working from home) under a program started by our current president.
Teleworkers don't answer their office phones.
I haven't successfully reached anyone at OPM by phone since I retired, meaning I haven't talked to a single government employee (other than Social Security) since I left.
All communication is either email or snail mail.
You know this is getting old and lame.