Paul L. Caron

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Two IRS Agents Demand Past-Due Taxes From Car Wash Owner: 4 Cents (Plus $202.31 Interest and Penalties)

Sacramento Bee, IRS Visits Sacramento Carwash in Pursuit of 4 Cents:

It was every businessperson's nightmare. Arriving at Harv's Metro Car Wash in midtown Wednesday afternoon were two dark-suited IRS agents demanding payment of delinquent taxes. "They were deadly serious, very aggressive, very condescending," says Harv's owner, Aaron Zeff.

The really odd part of this: The letter that was hand-delivered to Zeff's on-site manager showed the amount of money owed to the feds was ... 4 cents. Inexplicably, penalties and taxes accruing on the debt – stemming from the 2006 tax year – were listed as $202.31, leaving Harv's with an obligation of $202.35.

Zeff, who also owns local parking lots and is the president of the Midtown Business Association, finds the situation a bit comical. "It's hilarious," he says, "that two people hopped in a car and came down here for just 4 cents. I think (the IRS) may have a problem with priorities."

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Just wait until the healthcare police get up and running, won't that be fun. All else aside, this is an example of the biggest reason for being against government run healthcare.

Posted by: R C Kip | Mar 14, 2010 7:28:18 PM

It's tax season. The IRS is consciously cultivating its reputation as a relentless, unreasonable enforcer of the tax code. They want you to read a story like this while you're preparing your return. If you pay attention, there's usually a story like this (a perennial favorite is busting a kid's lemonade stand for not collecting sales tax) in February or March.

Posted by: Heathen | Mar 14, 2010 6:50:32 PM

Obviously, this ham-fisted, idiotic show of force has nothing whatsoever to do with the four cents they were pretending they wanted to collect. It's all about intimidation: if small business owners know that the IRS will go berzerk over nothing at all, they will routinely overpay their taxes in hopes of being passed over.

Mr. Zeff should sue the agents personally for any business disruption, emotional distress, or any other grounds he can think of. This kind of thing will continue until and unless these people see some actual consequences from their actions.

Posted by: Some Guy | Mar 14, 2010 5:32:55 PM

And let's have this idiocy run healthcare!

Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 14, 2010 5:08:29 PM

Refresh my memory--what penalties and interest were assessed on Geithner again?

Posted by: Willy | Mar 14, 2010 4:02:39 PM

Doesn't the IRS normally apply money to tax first, then to penalties and interest? It would seem that this business filed its return late with a payment of nearly all of the tax due ($0.04 short), but not the penalties or interest.

Posted by: Dan | Mar 14, 2010 1:50:42 PM

This from "the most trustworthy agency in the country"? Maybe they thought that the wash was laundering money.

Posted by: Woody | Mar 14, 2010 10:26:28 AM

Where is TIGTA when you need them?

TIGTA took a pass when informed that IRS has defrauded the Treasury out of BILLIONS of dollars with the instruction of Line 8 of Form 6251. IRS instructions make no distinction between refunds of taxes that reduced regular taxable income in a year the regular tax was paid and refunds of taxes that only provided a limited LTCG rate based tax benefit in a year the AMT was paid. Section 56(b)(a)(D) of the Internal Revenue Code makes a distinction.

From SHOE 2/25/2010:
Wiz, do you believe in artificial intelligence?
Not as much as I believe in natural stupidity.

Posted by: WD Kebschull | Mar 14, 2010 7:23:36 AM

I've never seen a claim smaller than say $4000 assigned to a Revenue Officer, how did this happen?

Posted by: save_the_rustbelt | Mar 14, 2010 6:39:02 AM