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Talking with a friend, the stress of completing her taxes was evident. I could not commiserate with her because I LOVE doing my taxes, especially with the newer computerized programs that submit on-line. I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers, and giggle with delight as I see the “refund” number grow in the corner…64 cents, $1.29, $2.15, the number climbs! My friend looked at me like I was crazy when I told her. “Aren’t you afraid of an audit?” she asked incredulously. “Nah,” was my answer, “I was audited by the IRS and it wasn’t so bad!” Or WAS it?????

It was many years ago and I was pregnant with our oldest son, Francis. About 8 and 29/30 months pregnant. I wore my favorite (i.e. only) maternity dress, a pretty baby blue color with a big bow hanging awkwardly over my belly. I had on flat shoes, and I waddled like a duck. The audit was downtown at the Federal Building, an imposing brick building towering over the parking lot next door. I went alone because my husband could not get the time out of work. I wasn’t scared…pregnant and waddling? Who would dare scare me?
The auditor was an older gentleman, someone who looked like he’d “been there, done that” a million times before. He wore a drab, puke green suit and even my most brilliant smile hello did not phase him. How could that be?? He only humphed “have a seat” and I sat in the metal chair, looking at the antiquated, drab office. Of course he was grumpy…look at his surroundings! He needed some large, colorful flowers on the walls, a candy jar with Hershey Kisses, some personal items from DisneyWorld on his desk, and maybe a serenity fountain. He seemed to have an attitude that said “Don’t mess with me,” which I assumed was a requirement for the job. (My apologies to any IRS auditors that might be reading this…I don’t generally like to generalize.) If figures that if you are trying to catch people who are dishonest on their taxes you need to have a stern exterior. Because I did NOT cheat on my taxes, and because I was sooooo pregnant with an infectious smile, I assumed he would warm up as he progressed through my tax return. I was wrong. I sat there as he went through my tax return, item by item. We got through all of the easy parts and moved onto the “long form” for deductions. This was where I excelled. All of the deductions had been itemized with care. One by one we went through them, and one by one I provided the receipt or back-up needed to document the authenticity. No problem, I thought…until he asked the question that struck fear in my heart…he inquired if my husband had taken a vacation that year. Vacation? What did a vacation have to do with anything?? I stammered a yes, and my ever present smile started to wane. “We took a 2 week vacation.” I could almost hear/see him jump up and say “AHA!!!!! I caught you!!!!” It seems that the receipt for the work uniforms for which my husband payed weekly was for 52 weeks. At first confused, it took a minute for this question to sink in. If my husband was on vacation, we could not count the $22 for that week he! Even though he did not have the option NOT to pay for them if he didn’t work, if they were not actually worn for work, we could not take the deduction for those 2 weeks! I finally saw a slight smile escape from the auditor’s lips. He had won! He “caught me”. I was quite the rebel tax cheater! The result was that $44 was added to our income and we therefore owed $14, plus $1.48 for interest!
My step was not quite so bouncy as I waddled out of that office. My ever present smile waned. The good news was I had survived, none the worse for the wear…and every year since then I have deducted the $44 from my husband’s uniform deduction!

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Comments on: "I was Audited by the IRS and I Survived!" (28)

  1. Your Federal Government at work. That guy probably makes $100/hour.

  2. And how much did that cost them to get that little bit back …… lol

  3. Lol! Wow! That was well worth your time and his time, wasn’t it? How much money did he waste to catch you? Oops! So much for being efficient!

  4. What a story! I can visualize you and yours with that righteous auditor…

  5. That is just crazy!

  6. OMG I am so sorry. Tax is a 4 letter word.

  7. In the eyes of the court, you are innocent until proven guilty. In the eyes of the IRS you are innocent until they decide you can go for now.

  8. Good heavens. Big corporations are draining the system and I bet they don’t get audited. Why in the world would they audit some one who paid $15.48 in taxes. I’m thankful I keep all my receipts!

  9. That whole ordeal for a measly $44. That’s ridiculous, but I guess that’s what they get paid to do.

  10. Wow, why don’t they spend their time actually going after people that cheat?!

  11. You’re such a humorously descriptive writer. Glad you survived the audit. :)

  12. Survival at its best

  13. That was so ridiculously petty of him. But you did the right things and it worked in your favour, even if it did mean a small bill. My old boss used to say, “Always pay the Revenue something. It keeps them quiet.” :-)

  14. Great post. I’m hoping that this helps reduce my yearly tax-o-phobia, which does, definitely, include Fear of Audits.

  15. I am always a little scared of an audit personally. I have done our taxes for the last 18 years (minus 2 because my husband worked out of state and I was not about to tackle that craziness). We always get a return because we opt to have the max taken out of our income. I have yet to have any major deductions but we are going to try that this year. I hope I can make it out unscathed and if not….it will be something as simple as missing 44 bucks. LOL I should mention I’m an accountant and I STILL fear the IRS. :)

    Also, thanks for liking my ADD post and getting my attention. I look forward to reading through your blog!

  16. I did find that out this year. The program I used helped to automatically deduct the general taxes I paid throughout the year since my state doesn’t have state taxes and then gave me a deduction. That was wonderful!! I hope to utilize many more this year so my return this year and next year can hopefully help us get a new roof on our house which is so needed…but stupid expensive. What kind of deductions are there that you find you can utilize?

    • I do a lot of donations of used clothing, (outgrown by the kiddos,) to the Salvation Army and places like that. What we pay for medical coverage is deductible, as well as the tax on any large purchase (refrigerator, dishwasher, etc.) any donations to the church, the interest on our home equity loan, and mileage for volunteer activities, just to name a few. The electronic programs, like Turbo Tax, are pretty extensive in asking the right questions in order to maximize deductions.

  17. I use taxact and they ask lots of questions. I just never know what receipts to keep until its too late….I’ll start working on that this year. Thank you for the information!

  18. I love doing taxes, too. Something about all the numbers and worksheets and secret codes for each line makes me feel like I’m doing important work. People think I’m nuts, especially since I’m messed them up so many times and the IRS has sent me bills. This year we used TurboTax and it just wasn’t the same as filling out the forms, though I feel less likely to get that thick envelope in the mail in 2 years asking for this that and the other thing with penalty!

  19. Impressive- I am terrified to screw mine up. You have a great attitude about it (as usual!)

  20. I must remember your attitude when filing my own taxes. As a small business owner, they’ve gotten a lot more intimidating. This year I think I’m going to have to measure my living room for tax purposes.

  21. Reminds me of my presentation to the county board of property tax assessors. What a colossal waste of time. I’m glad you were so well prepared. Thanks for sharing the anecdote!

  22. Wow! I wonder what IRS does if they get nailed for cheating on their taxes. I suppose they let others do their dirty work & they sit back & live a life of luxury. I love the way we get taken all the time. I get teed off with those people who think they are goody two shoes sometimes. I wonder if I will be that way when I do my taxes for our family.
    Rodney

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