Thrawn Rickle 14
© 1994 Williscroft
When my father passed away in early 1987, my attorney sister and I took on the formidable task of plowing through the papers he left behind. Among them we discovered a series of letters that clearly illustrates a prevalent fact in our society.
My father was a kind and gentle man—except when it came to communicating with the IRS. His letter exchanges with that agency over the years is nothing short of astonishing. My dear father, who had a kind word for everybody, completely forgot that even the IRS is peopled with men and women who get up in the morning and put on their shoes one at a time just like you and I.
It seems that agency has not forgotten my father, for it recently sent him a letter demanding that he pay his back taxes for 1988!
Since my father is not in a position to respond directly to this urgent request, I answered for him as follows:
IRS—Chief, Collection Branch
I am writing you this letter to inform you that I passed away in February, 1987. When my widow submitted her tax return for 1987, she had my son, whose name appears at the top of this letter, inform you that I had passed away and would, therefore, no longer be submitting income tax returns. Since I understand that you do not have tax jurisdiction where I currently reside, I am convinced that your recent notification to me about tax delinquency (copy enclosed), is an illegal attempt to collect taxes outside of your jurisdiction, and it may even be an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state.
While I recognize that you have an overwhelming paperwork load, and I also understand how difficult it is these days to get competent help, I still don’t believe you should be trying to collect taxes on my heavenly reward.
In light of the above, I ask (with all due respect) that you cease and desist in all further attempts to collect from me. I would hate to bring this matter to the personal attention of my superior, but if you do not leave me alone, I will have no choice.
In order to ensure that further collection attempts will not be forthcoming, would you please be good enough to send a letter to my son at the above address indicating your willingness to forgo further action. If such a letter is forthcoming, I will refrain from taking this matter up with my superior, and you may then avoid his eternal wrath—which, I understand can be devastating.
Cordially yours, etc.
Okay—so I’ve had some fun at the expense of the IRS folks. I trust their day is a bit brighter. It is tough to catch the ire of substantially everybody with whom you come in contact during the normal course of business. These people face an overwhelming task that never ends. The IRS is so large that any new technology it acquires becomes obsolete before it can be implemented. These men and women work under a heavy handicap, surrounded by thankless, hostile clients.
Congress promises no relief. Each “tax reform” only complicates the many-headed beast. Someday, our lawmakers may wake up and substitute for the income tax another, less unwieldy way to finance our government—a national value-added tax, for example, or a simple, no-deduction flat-rate tax. I wouldn’t hold my breath in anticipation, however.
Before that happens, I will probably follow my father, and the IRS can send me letters instead.