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1/27/2021 5:06 pm  #1


I Despise the IRS

Look, I love a good complicated system. I believe in the concept of taxes for the public good, and I genuinely have fun filing ours each year--we always get a refund, so to me, it's a game to see how many points I can win, and the fact that the points translate into money just makes it that much better!

But that's largely because I use a well-designed tax software with a user interface that bypasses any direct reading of the bullshit federal forms and instructions. Last night, I had to delve into the real thing, and it was both infuriating and harrowing to a degree that surprised even me. The triggering sitch is that for the first time this year, I have to file the brand new (technically not brand new, but revived for the first time in decades) form 1099-NEC, not for myself, but for the podcast hosts that I "pay" out of the group funds that are delivered to me by Damn Interesting. Damn Interesting is sending me a 1099-NEC that includes that money as if it were all my income, so I have to deduct it as a contractor expense to them, or else pay taxes on all of it. If it were under $600 each, I could just say "yeah, I spent this money" and be done with it, but since it's more, I need to mail them each their own 1099-NEC, as well as file a copy of each co-host's form with the IRS.

Now, I could pay out the ass for business accounting software that would do that for me. But only the most expensive software--we're talking $300-$400 per year for an income source that barely exceeds that--will actually e-file the form for you. The rest just spit out a downloadable file in the proprietary IRS format, that you then must upload yourself via the government's FIRE system.

And how does one upload to the FIRE system? Why, it's easy! First, you have to file form 4419 (should have filed it last November, if we're being picky, and it goes without saying that it can't be e-filed because that's the whole point) and wait 45 business days for approval to use the system. To signify this approval, they will then send you a five-letter confirmation code. Then you need to create an account on the FIRE system website, with a username that is neither your email address, nor your five-letter code. For that username you must create a password, AND a "Secret Phrase," AND a 10-digit numerical PIN, all three of which will be needed to log in, every time. And just for funzies, the "secret phrase" maxes out at 20 characters and must contain numbers, letters, and special characters, so the use of the word "phrase" here is pretty disingenuous. It's just two damn passwords, plus did I mention the 10-digit numerical PIN on top of that??

But then, you might think, you could enter your three passwords, plus your five-letter confirmation code, and be allowed to upload your obscurely-formatted file. But oh, no. The five-letter confirmation code just sets you up to receive a TIN, which is another identifying number that I can't even remember what it stands for. First you login to your newly-created three-password account, then you enter your special 45-day-old five-letter code into the long digital form that lets you apply for a TIN... and then just as you get to the bottom of the TIN application, you are notified you are not eligible to do any of this without an Employer Identification Number, which as a sole proprietor is usually just your Social Security Number, but in this case that doesn't count, only an EIN will do.

Would you like to apply for an EIN?

 

1/27/2021 5:32 pm  #2


Re: I Despise the IRS

ouch


Living life on the edge.
 

1/27/2021 5:40 pm  #3


Re: I Despise the IRS

gosh, you started off so strong...

I Despise the IRS

...only to thoroughly crash & burn...

I believe in the concept of taxes for the public good


guns & gold
 

1/27/2021 5:40 pm  #4


Re: I Despise the IRS

jfc


signature s c h m i g n a t u r e
 

1/27/2021 7:41 pm  #5


Re: I Despise the IRS

People googling instructions on this shit are going to find your post.  You might actually help someone.

 

1/27/2021 9:12 pm  #6


Re: I Despise the IRS

I like you Clodfobble.

You're a talented communicator.

I share your baseline belief and interest in this topic.

....



and yet... I still couldn't manage to read for comprehension as your reportage overwhelmed my cognitive capacity.  I feel for you. J. F. C.

 


Be Just And Fear Not
 

1/28/2021 1:30 am  #7


Re: I Despise the IRS

In defense of the IRS, they're up against some of the slickest perps in the world. There is no end to hackers who would love to cause havoc in the IRS without regard for collateral damage to you or anyone else.


 Freedom is just another word for nothin' left to lose.
 
 

1/28/2021 6:23 am  #8


Re: I Despise the IRS

xoxoxoBruce wrote:

In defense of the IRS, they're up against some of the slickest perps in the world. There is no end to hackers who would love to cause havoc in the IRS without regard for collateral damage to you or anyone else.

sympathy for the devil(s)
 


guns & gold
 

1/28/2021 7:32 am  #9


Re: I Despise the IRS

Flint wrote:

jfc

exactly this

I'm in the same place, tax me appropriately. The example of the tax cheat in chief the last four years hasn't helped anyone respect the system.
 


If you would only recognize that life is hard, things would be so much easier for you. - Louis Brandeis
 

1/28/2021 9:37 am  #10


Re: I Despise the IRS

Blaming the IRS simply exonerates guilty parties.  IRS is stuck with a code that is (if I remember) about 50,000 pages.  Whereas Germany's is only 5,000 pages.  IRS code is full of fine print exemptions created by laws to service special interests.  And with no interest and nothing to force simplification of that code.

And then it gets worse.  IRS was forced into a deal with software manufacturers who create those tax programs.  IRS can do nothing in software for taxpayers, Another law created, in this case, to protect tax software manufactures.

For example, an Adobe form could easily add numbers from some boxes to put that sum into others.  Could easily determine which tax table provides best tax numbers from income.  But IRS tax forms (ie in Adobe) are not even permitted to do that.  Otherwise it would violate rules imposed on the IRS to protect tax software companies.

What happens to your income data when filed using tax software?  You do not own it.  It is owned by those tax software companies who can sell your data.  That is why your tax program connects through their servers (and not the IRS). Making those free tax programs more profitable.

What happens if that tax software company software miscalculated your taxes?  You pay penalties; not them.  Again, more rules designed for everyone but a tax payer.

IRS did not do that.  All those rules exist because taxpayers remained silent.  Those rules and all that complicated tax code was dumped onto the IRS.  Who in turn must somehow translate that morass into forms that taxpayers must read.  Or must pay money to 'professionals' to read for them.

BTW, who processes your taxes when you pay $hundreds to have your taxes done?  In one case, it was an 18 year old high school student who simply entered your data into a computer program.  Professional tax processing is jobs created only because they system is intentionally too hard - due to rules forced upon the IRS.  So we blame the IRS and not those other parties that make it so expensive and so hard.

How are taxes done in countries where their IRS is not obstructed by laws?   In many western industrial countries, their IRS sends you a form completed with your data.   Taxpayer simply confirms those numbers and signs a form.  But in America, laws were passed that makes that illegal.  Then naive tax payers, who fail to first learn what they 'agreed' to, blame the IRS.

Blaming the IRS simply exonerates so many guilty parties.
 

Last edited by tw (1/28/2021 9:38 am)

 

1/28/2021 5:57 pm  #11


Re: I Despise the IRS

tw wrote:

What happens if that tax software company software miscalculated your taxes?  You pay penalties; not them.  Again, more rules designed for everyone but a tax payer.

Most of your other points are valid, but for what it's worth, all the major tax software programs come with a "we pay the fines for miscalculation" clause, plus an accountant to personally represent you if the IRS audits your return. They're probably no better than public defenders, and neither situation has ever happened to me so I can't guarantee that they actually make good on those offers, but there is at least a nominal amount of protection offered.

     Thread Starter
 

1/29/2021 8:57 am  #12


Re: I Despise the IRS

Clodfobble wrote:

... all the major tax software programs come with a "we pay the fines for miscalculation" clause, plus an accountant to personally represent you if the IRS audits your return.

Is that true now for all those 'free' tax software packages?

Last time I looked, the major ones cost over $100 (with charges for submitting forms to their servers).


 

Last edited by tw (1/29/2021 8:58 am)

 

1/29/2021 3:45 pm  #13


Re: I Despise the IRS

The one I use runs about $100 bucks for me, but I have to pay for a higher tier because I am self-employed. It's cheaper if your income is just a standard W2. On the other hand, I also live in a state with no income tax--filing a state return plus a federal return will cost more. Either way, though, it's all built into the price, you don't have to pay more to e-file vs. print-and-mail.

     Thread Starter
 

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