Jun 13, 2017

An IRS Story.

Once upon a time I was enrolled in online classes at BYU-Idaho. When I got accepted to attend BYU-Idaho's online college I decided to live large and also applied for financial aid. In due time I was approved for financial aid for my first year of college. The grass was green, the sky was blue with clouds in it, the birds were singing. Me? I was wearing a long flow-y dress while I rode horses across fields with handsome boys who adored answering my questions. Things were going so well in the kingdom of Jennifer that I applied for financial aid for the second year of school. I was so organized that I applied very early. I waited, and waited, and waited but no reply from BYU-Idaho.

Finally, one fair day in the beginning of May I get an email from the well meaning, yet evil, Financial Aid office at BYU-Idaho. They need copies of documents from me. Because I made money on some GE stock and some Merck stock in 2015 and filed an amendment to my tax return they have noticed me.I am not normal. They have questions.

I run around in my flow-y dress like a crazy lady, find the documents, quickly upload them, send them, and check all the appropriate boxes. I hear nothing. My Spring semester starts and my Financial aid is still sitting at the school. They cannot pay my tuition with it. They cannot pay for my books with it. They cannot give it to me. They have questions. I call. I wait on hold for an hour and 20 minutes one time and an hour and 17 minutes another time. I make appointments to have phone calls with them. I send desperate, dramatic emails that may or may not sound like decrees. I even think about riding my horse (I really do not have a horse just in case you did not know that) to the college campus. Once they see me face to face in my beautiful flow-y dress surely they will realize this is all a big mistake. But I refrain. I wait patiently, it is what girls in flow-y dresses do.

Every two or three weeks since the first week of May I have received another request for new documents. I run around like a crazy lady gathering what the Financial Aid office bids me to bring. I call my tech savvy children to make sure I am sending them properly. My days of meadows, green, flow-y dresses are long gone. I am sad. This has been the most in-efficient process I have ever been through in my life. The hardest part is knowing that the Financial Aid office needs my help. They need me to organize them. They need me to help them be efficient. This keeps happening to me I keep seeing how awesome I am and how people or places really need me but they never see it and miss out. I digress, that is another blog.

So two days ago I get yet another request from the powers that be at BYU-Idaho. I have paid my tuition out of my own money so that I can unfreeze my account and register for Fall semester. I have waited. I have begged. I have called. I am almost broken. This time they need me to please send the documents all together and they need me to procure some tax transcripts. WHAT? Now I have to play with the IRS? I need a new flow-y dress for this.

I get online and go to the formidable IRS website. I find the button that tells me I can request transcripts. They tell  me I can get them in a mere days if I can answer all the appropriate questions perfectly. Otherwise the transcripts will be sealed in a bottle and dropped over the Atlantic Ocean and get to me in 6-8 weeks. Am I up to the task? I get a package of fruit snacks and take a deep breath and hope I can pass this quest. I get past my birthday, my SS#, my current address. I get another package of fruit snacks. I tell them how much money I made in 2015. I tell them I filed as Head of Household and then everything crashes, they need my phone number. I give it to them. They say um, NO. I realize I changed my phone number in February and forgot to send the IRS an announcement. Geesh, I will never leave them out of the loop again. So because my new phone number did not match my old phone number I was kicked off and sent to option B. I do not have time for option B. I am moving. I am going to Europe. I paid for my own tuition. I have homework. I am packing. I am trying to find someone to love me. I felt despair trying to open the door into my life.

Luckily, my daughter Madeline called about now and I told her my woes and guess what she had the same woes about 5 months ago. Exact same woes. Minus the flow-y dress. And in Salt Lake City not in Oregon. She quickly finds out where the closest IRS office is to me and tells me to go there and to take everything I own with me.

The next morning I quickly wash buses and then head for Eugene to the IRS office. Something stops me and encourages me to call just to make sure I can truly walk in to the IRS office. I listen to that something and I pull over at the Saginaw exit and call the IRS. I am on hold for about 5 minutes and then someone in Iceland (Exaggeration) answers and confirms that I indeed need an appointment at the IRS office. I mention my flow-y dress but that will not get me in. She asks me to hold for 5-7 minutes while she calls the Eugene office to see when they can appointment with me. She gets back on the phone with me and says June 19th. I feel myself sinking into a deep hole as I explain to her I will be on an airplane to Europe at that time and when I get back from Europe I am moving to Idaho. She was very sweet and put me on hold again and came back and said tomorrow at 8:30 am. I did not tell her I was a bus driver. I did not tell her anything else about my life, I said I will take it. I figured out my route so that I could be in Eugene at 8:15 the next morning to get copies of my transcripts from the IRS.

This morning was crazy. I got up at 4:50 to register for my Fall semester since registration opened in Idaho at 6 am. Five my time :) I drove my route. Handed off my high school kids to another bus driver so I could get my bus back to transportation in time. I ran in. I ran out. I drove fast. I found a parking spot a block away from the Federal building. It was 8:17 when I parked. I grabbed my heavy back pack. I brought every document and every piece of evidence of who I am that I could find. Yes, even my first blanket came along. (exaggeration). I ran. I even did that weird thing runners do at stop lights and jogged in place. I ran all the way to the door of the federal building. Wrong door. Ran out ran to the other door. Oh no. I have to go through security. I am going to be late and the IRS is going to laugh me out of the building. I am not obeying rules. But I smile and small talk with security while they move like snails. I fast walk down the hall to the .....very, empty and quiet IRS office. There is literally no one there. I see a sign that says "take a number". I take one but I am wondering if you have an appointment do you need a number? Yes, folks I am an over thinker. I catch a glimpse of this guy behind a partition. I peek around and ask him if I need a number he does not answer he just motions to me to come in.

He is wearing a black t-shirt with skulls all over it. It surprised me. I thought IRS meant button down shirt, at least. He just says "What do you need?" I quickly identify that this is a short and sweet kind of guy so I spare him the details of the meadows, and the horse, and the flow-y dress, and I just blurt out I need a tax transcript....please. He asks for my ID. I lug my enormous back pack on my lap and dig past my computer, my passport, my past 3 years of journals, my blanket from childhood, elementary school pictures and hand him my drivers license. Whew, so glad I had what he needed. He asks which year I need and I decide to push it and ask for 2015 and 2016. He punches some keys on the computer and then without getting out of his chair he scoots backwards around a partition to the copier. I cannot see him but I can hear him scooting in his chair. Then I hear the copier and then he scoots back and staples my transcript #1 and hands it to me. Then he punches more buttons on the computer and scoots in his chair backwards around the partition to get my transcript #2 and scoots back. I am sitting there observing and loving every minute of this. I notice he has pictures of raccoons on his bulletin board. No family members. I read all the IRS warning signs about conversations are being recorded, do not use your cell phone etc. It all took 5 minutes of my life. It stressed me out to the max to imagine all the scenarios that could happen at this "appointment" but none of them came true I left with my tax transcripts.

I rushed back to cottage grove and scanned them and sent them on their way to the evil, wicked Financial aid office. everyone cross your fingers that they finally know everything about me that they need to know and will release my financial aid so that I can go back to my meadows, and horses and adoring boys.

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