Mr. President, I have good news and bad news …

Dear Mr. President:

I have good news! You know how there is a great need for more jobs all over this country? Well, I’ve found one place that really needs more workers–and fast! And the best part about it is that this need is right in your own backyard–well, it’s in part of your considerably enlarged backyard, now that you are president.To illustrate my point–before I even make it–I have just wasted two and a half HOURS, most of it on hold…with…and here’s where they need more workers asap–the IRS!

Yes, Mr. President, the IRS is in a calamitous state. There are not nearly enough people to handle the incoming calls, and once these calls finally get answered, no one there at the IRS can answer the questions that were the purpose of the calls. I told you it was calamitous.

I have what I thought was a simple question to ask the IRS. Apparently no question is simple when it comes to taxes, because everyone at the IRS is very specialized, to the point that they know nothing outside of their designated area–and I’m not so sure they know anything about what they’re supposed to know in their designated areas anyway, because of the four people I talked to, none could answer any questions I had, none of them even had a clue. None.

Supposedly, the problem with my one question is that it involves two areas of specialty. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and “Itemized Deductions.” After a 20-minute wait on hold, a young-sounding woman whose couldn’t-care-less attitude was all too evident, couldn’t even understand my question, even though I put it to her in a dozen different ways–and the question isn’t even complicated. Believe me, if I am asking a question about taxes, it could not be complicated.

According to this couldn’t-care-less IRS employee, NO ONE in the entire IRS knows about both HSAs and Itemized Deductions. According to her, it’s not allowed for anyone in the IRS to know anything outside of his/her own specialty area, and I’m not convinced that this woman knew the first thing about her own supposed area to start with. Now that is not only inconvenient, it is negligent and an improper use of the taxpayers’ money–and I am a taxpayer who is protesting. Right there is a need for several armies of people to be hired to fill in these enormous gaping holes in the “system”–can this even be called “a system” if none of the parts is connected to the others?

This first woman sent me off, rather hurriedly, I might add, to another hold time of at least 20 minutes to wait for an “Itemized Deductions Specialist,” despite my protests that my question had as much or more to do with the HSA end of things than with Itemized Deductions. But off I went, regardless.

This time an older, much nicer sounding woman in Jacksonville, FL, with an infinitely better attitude was on the line. True to what the alleged HSA specialist woman had told me, the Itemized Deductions Specialist woman knew nothing–no, less than nothing–about HSAs. She didn’t even know what HSA stands for–she asked if it was an insurance company. Not good, Mr. President, not good.

At least this Jacksonville woman had a pleasant personality and a sense of humor…something that I had heard is not common in the world of IRS employees. (And that rumor is most definitely true based on my overall experience today.) She had to put me on hold several times to try and figure out what to do with me just to get me to a place where someone in the IRS would know the answer to my question. At least she offered hope…and she was trying.

Finally, she announced with a notable sense of accomplishment, she was going to send me to the “Complex Issues Area.” That really made me laugh, because my question was NOT complex–at all. Then, she started to ask me if I would mind taking a survey, but then realized that she couldn’t really ask me to do that as she was going to send me on to this “Complex Issues” place…when I asked what the survey was about, we both had a good laugh when she said “about whether you have been well served at the IRS today”…and at that point I had no idea how un-funny that was about to become.

Another 25 minutes on hold waiting for the Complex Issues Specialist, and the phone was picked up by a very stressed-out sounding man. First problem: he was NOT a “Complex Issues Specialist”–he seemed to have never heard of the breed—he was an HSA Speciaist, as he grouchily informed me. So here I was, back to square one after nearly an hour of this run-around to nowhere.

He was pretty grumpy, I have to tell you, Mr. President. I’m sure that working for the IRS is no picnic, especially with its having this seeming chaos and confusion among its rank and file, but this man is in bad need of a happy pill. Really bad.

He practically hung up on me, but not before practically shouting at me what by then I was already most painfully aware–that he was an HSA specialist and knew NOTHING about anything else. I guess my error was in trying to make him see that my question did have to do with HSAs, in addition to having to do with Itemized Deductions. I guess such questions are also NOT ALLOWED, because he just could not handle that news, Mr. President. He sent me flying right out of his door, via the phone, to another HALF HOUR hold time. I had no idea who I was waiting for by then, because this latest HSA Specialist man with the short fuse (and NO sense of humor, I might add) had never heard of the Complex Issues Area that the nice woman from Jacksonville supposedly had sent me to.

Finally, FINALLY a new woman (to me) picked up. I asked if she was in Complex Issues…she seemed a bit bewildered at that, and hesitated, as she probably thought of her own pending third divorce from her illegal alien to-be ex-husband, his pending jail terms, and the custody arrangements for his five children from-previous-relationships and their 25 pit bulls (now, I don’t really know all of that, sir, but that’s what came to my mind when I first heard that term “Complex Issues”).

No, this woman knew nothing of “Complex Issues,” as she was a “General Tax Questions Specialist”—translated, she knew less than the other three I’d already talked to, none of whom knew anything at all that I could tell.

She did manage to look up some bulletin that she asked if I had read…was she kidding? Me??? Read a bulletin on taxes??? I’m still trying to get to the newspapers of the past two weeks and the stack of 59 books piled next to my bed–and she asks if I’ve read some tax bulletin? Right. I’ll put it on the list.

I told her that if that bulletin had the answer that I needed, she should forward copies of it to the HSA and Itemized Deductions departments because they were the ones who really needed to know.

You see what I mean, Mr. President? This is the bad news: the IRS is in dire straits, and is about to implode from no one there knowing anything about anything. (No wonder the phone lines are so jammed–and in November, no less–months away from April 15, they are overflowing with calls being rerouted to places that don’t exist—like the alleged Office of “Complex Issues.”) Mr. President, THIS is an EMERGENCY of the Highest Order!

Quick! Forget even considering sending more troops to Afghanistan or anywhere else—except to the IRS! There you are, that’s part of the good news! That question is answered–no more troops going outside IRS borders…AND the needed new jobs are created, because more people are needed than the the number already there–and, this is all in one agency that YOU are ultimately in charge of, so you can wave a wand and there they are–new jobs!

And think of all the more new jobs there will be since these new recruits will need training–and trainings require trainers. I admit that these may be hard to come by as the present people at the IRS don’t have the first clue about anything (more of the bad news). But I’m sure there are plenty of outsiders who can grasp the issues better than those who have been paid for years to do that, but have so sadly failed. (Both good and bad news here.) As for the money to pay all of these new employees…stop paying the ones that are there and not doing anything because they don’t know anything, and use that money to pay the new ones. Let the current IRS employees be the ones to worry about finding new jobs. No one will even notice if for several months no one is sitting in those formerly occupied chairs at the IRS while the new recruits are getting trained–heck, no one in them right now is able to answer a really simple question, so take action and save us all what we are spending on salaries of people who aren’t doing the job in the first place. You have NOTHING to lose!

Go for it, Mr. President–so far we’ve solved three of your biggest problems–what to do about sending more troops to Afghanistan (NO), how to create new jobs (do it at the IRS), and how to save the IRS from implosion by ignorance (fire the present crew and replace them with the troops McCain would have sent to Afghanistan).

Pretty neat, all things considered, don’t you think, Mr. President?


A simple taxpayer looking for a simple answer to a simple tax question

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