IRS horror stories…

23 years ago this month my wife and were sitting in a coffee shop in Rota, Spain reading the Stars and Stripes newspaper (I believe I was reading the comics, while Mary had the main section), we were joking around with a couple of friends about the similarities of one of our mates to a particular comic strip character. In the midst of that laughter my wife excitedly exclaimed, “Alan, your parents are in the newspaper!” Thinking this was a continuation of our conversation over the comics, I leaned over to take a look.

Nope. Not a comic.

It was a horror story.

This is what I saw in the upper left hand corner of the Stars and Stripes dated June 14th:  http://newspaperarchive.com/european-stars-and-stripes/1990-06-14/page-3

A federal judge said that he had been lied to and that my parents had been treated rudely and incompetently by agents of the IRS. He went on to say, in a 10 page ruling that the behavior of the IRS “demonstrates the IRS’ lack of organization and respect for the taxpayers.” What the heck happened? I had no idea what this was all about, but over the next few months I would find out.

Here is the gist of the story…

My grandmother died of cancer in 1987 and during the turmoil of that time, managing her estate and tying up loose ends, my parents turned some business books over to an accountant and he failed to pay diesel fuel tax between September of 1988 and May 1989. My family discovered the error when they took the books back over and being good citizens they called the IRS office in Atlanta, GA to let them know that they owed back taxes. The IRS assigned the case to Sherilyn Heyward of the IRS’ Savannah office and boy, did she run with it.

She initially informed my parents that their back taxes and penalties came to about $51K, then a couple of weeks later she said she made a mistake and they owed $7,000 more, then another $1,000, then, ooops, another $37,000. After mortgaging their store, cashing in insurance policies, and getting loans from banks they arraigned to pay off everything except $10K. They asked that they be allowed to pay off the rest in installments. No dice. Heyward put a lien against the business for unpaid taxes and went to a bank to seize money. In an example of the incompetence that the federal judge noted, Heyward got the address for the store wrong on the lien and the bank refused to hand over the cash.

Heyward went before judge Edenfield and lied to him, stating that my parents were moving bank accounts around in an attempt to hide money from the IRS. The judge, acting on this false testimony, issued a search warrant for my parents business and Heyward oversaw its execution with armed federal agents in tow. Some of that is covered in this article in Money Magazine: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_archive/1990/10/01/86126/index.htm

After all of this the IRS was ordered by the same judge to leave my parents alone and stop all collections against them. This order was ignored, in fact the IRS went door to door in my parents neighborhood asking their friends how many cars they owned, if they ever drove business vehicles for personal use, really sponsored little league baseball teams and in general ruined my parents reputation out of spite.

So, what happened to the incompetent Ms. Heyward? Well, she received a temporary appointment to oversee all collections in Savannah when last we had any dealings with her. There was never any discipline. In fact, when my mother was interviewed on the Today Show about all of this one of her fellow guests, a former IRS agent, said that agents are never disciplined for overly aggressive collections, but they are disciplined if they don’t collect. Nice, eh?

My parents spent a lot of time in the newspaper (http://archives.savannahnow.com/sav_pdf_archive/text/fr38/A_2301527.pdf

http://archives.savannahnow.com/sav_pdf_archive/text/fr38/A_2301555.pdf)

The Money Magazine article was picked up by Readers Digest as well and with all that publicity guess what happened?  Nothing. In the end my parents closed down two businesses in Georgia, moved to Florida and filed for bankruptcy. My dad had a massive coronary in 1991, surviving thank God, and began to rebuild their lives.

The IRS is raw, uncheck power and when they move on people they are capable of inflicting great harm.

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The Air They Breathe

Al Mohler responds to a new study indicating that says:

As anyone who knows a teen or tween can attest, media are among the most powerful forces in young people’s lives today. Eight-to-eighteen-year-olds spend more time with media than in any other activity besides (maybe) sleeping — an average of more than 7 1/2 hours a day, seven days a week. The TV shows they watch, video games they play, songs they listen to, books they read and websites they visit are an enormous part of their lives, offering a constant stream of messages about families, peers, relationships, gender roles, sex, violence, food, values, clothes, an abundance of other topics too long to list.

Mohler says:

…this important report serves as an undeniable warning that America’s young people are literally drowning in an ocean of media consumption. There is every reason for parents to be concerned about dangers ranging from the content of this media, to the way digital saturation changes the wiring of the brain, to the loss of literacy and the reading of books, to the fact that many teenagers are far more connected to their friends through social media than to their own families in their own homes. Teenagers are forfeiting sleep and other important investments of time because they experience panic when they are digitally disengaged for even a few moments.

Read Mohler’s complete article here.

[HT: JT]

When The Fathers Start Dying…

… it is not pretty.

Frank Turk linked to this and he got it from Justin Taylor.  You should get it from me and read it.  Here is something lovely from a wonderful paper:

Most fathers-to-be suppose that their old ego-centered lives will continue more or less unabated after the child arrives. With the exception of a few more obstacles and demands on their time, their involvement with their children is envisioned as being something manageable and marginal.  Nothing like a complete transformation—an abrupt end to their former life—really enters men’s minds.

But then the onslaught begins, and a man begins to realize that these people, his wife and children, are literally and perhaps even intentionally killing his old self. All around him everything is changing, without any signs of ever reverting back to the way they used to be. Into the indefinite future, nearly every hour of his days threatens to be filled with activities that, as a single-person or even a childless husband, he never would have chosen. Due to the continual interruptions of sleep, he is always mildly fatigued; due to long-term financial concerns, he is cautious in spending, forsaking old consumer habits and personal indulgences; he finds his wife equally exhausted and preoccupied with the children; connections with former friends start to slip away; traveling with his children is like traveling third class in Bulgaria, to quote H.L. Mencken; and the changes go on and on. In short, he discovers, in a terrifying realization, what Dostoevsky proclaimed long ago: “[A]ctive love is a harsh and fearful reality compared with love in dreams.” Fatherhood is just not what he bargained for.

Yet, through the exhaustion, financial stress, screaming, and general chaos, there enters in at times, mysteriously and unexpectedly, deep contentment and gratitude. It is not the pleasure or amusement of high school or college but rather the honor and nobility of sacrifice and commitment, like that felt by a soldier.  What happens to his children now happens to him; his life, though awhirl with the trivial concerns of children, is more serious than it ever was before.  Everything he does, from bringing home a paycheck to painting a bedroom, has a new end and, hence, a greater significance. The joys and sorrows of his children are now his joys and sorrows; the stakes of his life have risen. And if he is faithful to his calling, he might come to find that, against nearly all prior expectations, he never wants to return to the way things used to be.

Seriously, read the whole thing…

al sends

Sam is Eight!

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Sam turns eight years old today. There will doubtless be countless reminders of this as the day progresses. It’s what he does.

The other day Sam, after completing a major work on the kazoo, said to his mother, “Mom, the kazoo doesn’t make me special; it just makes me loud.”

He is special, but it has very little to do with the kazoo, and much to do with a great God who makes great gifts like kazoo blowing, gluten-free-diet-eating, Pinocchio Marlin and Square Man creating, laughing, inquizative, joyful sons.

Happy Birthday, son. In you I am well pleased.

Sam’s Scripture Reading

Yesterday I came home and Sam had done some work on the computer. It seems that he was blogging because when guided me to read what he had written he asked, “Dad? Do you want to comment?” (It was entitled My Scripture Reading Listen By Dad.)

Here’s what he had written:

ADAM EATS THE GOOD AND EVIL
God Named The Man Adam And Named Woman Eve. “There is some Food That You Shall Eat WIth The Good And Evil That You Shall Not Eat Of It Until You Die.” Said God. Adam and Eve Are Finally Here! And They lived In the Garden……..But Next To Them Is The Good And Evil. They Tried To Eat It Until Adam Said “Good And Evil, Good And Evil, We Will Eat As 4 of Them!” And Now She Got 4 And…….She ate. She Gave Some To Adam And Then he Ate. While They Eated They Sinned “I Told You ‘There is some Food That You Shall Eat With The Good And Evil That You Shall Not Eat Of It Until You Die’ Do You Understand?” Asked God. “We Sinned As We Lived In The Garden” Said Eve But God Said “You Will Be Thrown Out Of The Garden And Die”

THE END

 

So…Do you want to comment?

Mr. Adams would be Proud

Sam comes bouncing into the room with a worksheet of math problems. He asks: Six plus what equals ten?

Dad: What’s the answer Sam?
Sam: I don’t know.
Mom: Count from six until you get to ten.
Sam: Six, seven, nine, two, eight, FOUR! Six plus four equals ten.

Mom and Dad: ::blank stare:: followed by big laughs.