To the IRS: Don’t blame me. It’s my mom’s fault.
In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes. Ben Franklin, you are just so clever. But here’s my problem – I can’t file my tax returns. Not yet. And I’m afraid it’s all my mom’s fault.
I love getting to blame my mom for stuff that was actually her fault. Stay tuned to find out why.
About a week ago, I decided it was finally time to inject some much needed liquidity into my bank account (see: car repair, Philadelphia shopping spree) so I finally went online to pay my taxes. It was the first year since 2004 that I did my taxes online because my parents have this accountant and my dad seemed to like the idea that I had audit protection. Which is moderately humorous given my paltry income and standard deduction.
So at stupid o’clock at night I decided to get started with my return, entering all the necessary information from a billion forms onto a million screens. After verifying everything for the third time, I hit “submit” and all of my most precious information got sent off to the Internets (and hopefully, eventually, the IRS).
I get the confirmation e-mail. It has been sent. I get the rejection e-mail. I entered something wrong.
Thing I entered wrong #1 – My 2006 adjusted gross income used to verify my e-signature thingy was incorrect. Ahh. I had entered my 2007 income. Stupid.
Thing I entered wrong #2 – My birthday.
Well, easy! I went back, found the income thing and changed it. Then I found my birthday, saw that it was correct and paused, befuddled. I cruised the rest of the form to try to find other places I could have screwed up my birthday and could not. So I assumed it was a wacky glitch in the online system and resubmitted the form.
I get the confirmation e-mail. It had been sent. I get the rejection e-mail. I entered something wrong.
Well, at 1am there wasn’t a lot I could do. But just then it hit me. In 2004, the last time I tried to e-file, I was presented with the same problem. My birthday had been wrong somewhere in the governments. At that point I was living in Washington State. I had to get my birth certificate sent it to the department of mental hygiene and prove that I was born when I said I was born. Then it was all sorted out.
So, still a bit worried, I called the IRS the next day (btw I don’t recommend calling them at 7am when they open. It seems they are just as pissed that they have to be at work as you are that you have to call them that early). They said that my birthday doesn’t match their records. “Well, what do your records say?” — “We can’t tell you that.”
Of course you can’t.
Apparently my birthday was incorrect with the Social Security Administration so I had to call them. And so I did. But not at 7am.
When I called them, entered every piece of information an automated system could handle, I got to talk to a person. Yes. My birthday was wrong in the “system.” It said I was born November 15, 1982 – a full year after I was actually born. Oh, and it has been that way since January 1983 when my social security card was applied for.
My first call was to my mom. “Hey, mom! Tell me, who was in charge of getting me my social security card in January of 1983?” “Oh!” she said. “I remember it well! I took you and your brother down to the office and we got them together.”
“Cause mom? You got my birthday wrong.”
She was embarrassed and amused. I have to be honest, so was I. Amused that is. How far had I gotten in life with the government having my most basic of information incorrect. And to be fair? It really probably wasn’t my mom’s fault. It was probably some overworked, underpaid clerk’s fault. A simple clerical error. But don’t you think for one moment I didn’t start to wonder if my birth certificate was the one that was wrong. I’m an idiot sometimes. Heh.
Anyway, fixing my birthday involved an hour and a half at the Social Security Administration office which is like the MVA but lamer. Apparently, for your information, the procedure for verifying someone’s birthday has just changed. And my clerk hadn’t done her homework, so she was sitting there reading the manual and highlighting the pertinent information. By the end of my 20 minutes at the window the clickclickclickclickclickclickclick of her nails on the keyboard made me want to gauge my eyes out.
So in two weeks my birthday will be corrected and then I can file my taxes. I don’t know why the government wouldn’t just accept a note from my mom: “Please accept Jane’s tax return. Her birthday really is what she says it is. I was there and it sucked. I wouldn’t forget. Promise.”
One day the government will work more like my high school attendance office and all the cogs in the system will just work themselves out. Or at least we can hope.