Column: If it looks like IRS business … file it


I do hate to bring this up, but this is a very special time of year.

We have March Madness, when everyone is on the verge of hyperventilating about his or her favorite basketball team.

Oh, for the day when the Ohio State Buckeyes were good enough to make it to a national championship game.

Ohio State is in the lineup for the Midwest. They’re first game was against Iowa State.

That’s the kind of match which is, to me, heartbreaking.

I am a firm Ohio State supporter. But I lived for years in Iowa, so have a soft spot for that very flat, but very offering and accommodating, state.

I even was kind to some Iowa people when I encountered them at Ohio Stadium during a match with their football team.

I offer my support to anyone who has made it into the playoffs, which began March 21.

We have Gonzaga, plus lots of other teams that want to be winners.

I also have a fondness for Gonzaga, because there is a Gonzaga school in Washington, D.C. A dear friend made his way through Gonzaga, a Catholic school, where he said he mostly felt he had to be respectful and live in the truly Catholic way.

This was not easy for Mark Noone, who later became known as lead singer for the Slickee Boys, a wild rock band that toured Europe and headlined at the 9:30 Club in town.

I, unfortunately, won’t be glued to a device watching all the games.

Work beckons.

The reason I write today is that it’s also tax time.

I have prided myself on being ahead of the crowd in getting my taxes done.

When I was in Washington, husband John would leave the heavy lifting on doing taxes to me.

I had to put together records from my business, Takoma Kitchens, and take all that to the accountant.

Then John, still a journalist, writing a book, would furnish his relevant numbers.

This did not always go smoothly.

John, a lovely writer, wasn’t too concerned about deadlines.

This is, of course, a startling thing to consider when you know he worked for a daily newspaper, where deadlines were one of those things you had to live with.

We would always get an extension of the filing deadline.

This means when I moved to Ohio, after John passed away, I was left with a horrid mash of battering tax letters from the Internal Revenue Service, saying things really needed to be cleaned up.

Here in beautiful Ohio, I found a good accountant, who did all that nasty fix-it work.

So, taxes were clarified, cleared up.

Then, working as a newspaper editor again, I was one of those persons caught in a digital fraud. Many people had data hacked. This, not a fun thing to fight.

So, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) decided I need to have a pin number to appropriately file my taxes.

My current contact at the accountant’s office has my information together. But, I couldn’t find my pin number.

My accountant gave me a phone number. I called it. No luck.

I called another number I had saved because I would still get many notifications from the IRS.

I called that number. It had a different set of numbers you could punch if you had a specific question.

I thought I had scored because one notification said anyone with questions about PIN numbers could punch xxxxx.

I did that.

With the IRS, you get put on hold. And this insane music, probably electronically generated, plays over and over.

At 48.36 minutes, after being transferred again and again, the IRS informed me my question couldn’t be answered.

And then? The IRS hung up.

Before doing that, the IRS helpfully informed me it would be better to call on Wednesday and Thursday, when the offices wouldn’t be so busy.

Again relying on my accountant, I consulted huge piles of documents I had saved.

Call them love letters from the IRS.

Searching diligently, I, little Louise Swartzwalder, found the lonely, buried letter bearing my PIN number.

I turned that over to my accountant. She was abundantly grateful.

Turns out the document carrying that looks exactly like the numerous official looking papers the IRS had sent previously.

If you have a low threshold of tolerance for all things government oriented, you would have been guilty of the same thing as I.

Looks like the IRS?

File it.

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