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Nothing makes me more proud of our current tax system than to see it efficiently and intelligently use the tax dollars we Americans pay into it. After all, we’ve sweated for every hard earned dollar and we believe in what America stands for so we are happy to contribute to it.

Okay, while I do agree with the sentiment of my previous paragraph, I am saying it ironically because of a recent story highlighting the follies of our government bureaucracy.

The article describes how Detroit defense lawyer James Howarth received a bill in November indicating that he owed the IRS $0.05. That’s a nickel. One shiny, round nickel. The letter sternly warned that he could face penalties and interest if he did not pay his nickel.

That’s stupid enough on its own. After all, the IRS easily paid 10 times that amount to send him the letter. (I’m calculating a discounted rate of about $0.35 for the stamp, $0.02 for the paper, $0.05 for the envelope, $0.03 for the ink, and $0.05 for the wage of the low-paid intern who licked the envelope and put it in the “outgoing mail” stack). And in an effort to further stupefy everyone, they will want him to send the money to the IRS by mail. That’s a stamp. An envelope. And they don’t take cash so you have to write a check.

Are you done slamming your head against the wall from the nonsense?

Well just wait, it gets better!

Later, the same article reports, the IRS sent Mr. Howarth a letter telling him that he is the lucky recipient of a $0.04 refund. That’s right: 4 pennies! 4 little, tiny, round coppers can go back to his account!

The irony is, since the refund is below the IRS’ $1 threshold, he has to request it if he wants it. Mr Howarth’s frustration is clear when he points out that the IRS demands immediate payment of even the smallest amount, but they make him jump through hoops when they have to pay him back his own money.

The article then relates that Mr. Howarth called the toll-free IRS number to clear up the issue, as any concerned citizen would, and finally gave up after being on hold for so long. If he ever does get through to anyone, it will cost several dollars in wages and time to correct the issue.

Does this make sense to anyone? This is another great example of our tax dollars being wasted by the IRS. A few simple procedures which can be automated by a computer would have solved this problem. If you have problems getting your correct tax refund, we are happy to help.

read more about ridiculous refunds sent out by the IRS.

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