Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Declare The Pennies On Your Eyes

Oh, hey. Hi. How are you? Good, good. Me? Well, it’s been kind of a rough couple weeks. Got this letter from the IRS about my 2007 return. Seems they’d like me to take 10% of my vacation time so I can be “interviewed” about my business practices and take a look at my books from two years ago. Yes, the books from the business that closed. Because it lost so much money. That’s the one. At least the organizational effort of pulling together all my files and receipts and ledgers will give me a chance to dig out all the outstanding forms sent by various local business authorities and finally get around to officially informing them of my store’s demise. Maybe then they’ll stop sending me a $19 bill for the sign every year – oh wait, they know I’m closed, and they keep billing me anyway because the letters are still affixed to the empty storefront. That seems worth the administrative effort, doesn’t it?

What kills me is that the audit isn’t even about my reported losses or anything that potentially controversial. It’s some minor clerical stuff that is apparently wired to trigger red flags if improperly or inadequately described. Thanks, TurboTax! Way to tell me that was optional! I don’t begrudge the auditor for doing her job, but I have to admit, I hope she feels a little silly when she sees all the year’s info laid out in front of her. Especially when she gets to the part where I reported a loss from armed robbery, and I can casually mention, “Oh, yeah, that was from when I got held up. When I was pregnant.” A robbery that occurred, by the way, because all I did 98% of the time was sit alone in that store waiting for a customer. The guy who cleared my cash register had been wandering in there for ten minutes before demanding the money. He could have hung out another hour and there still wouldn’t have been a witness.

After I called the auditor and she described the process, she mailed out a list of documents that she’d like to review. I got it, read it, and then flipped it over for the part requesting unicorn whiskers and fairy snot, because I’d be just as likely to have those handy as the paperwork she’s expecting. I already told her that the business is closed, and that I had been the primary, and often only, employee, but I guess it’s going to take looking at my meager spreadsheets and register tape reports for her to fully comprehend the tiny scope of the operation.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue hearing the constant mental white noise of small business ownership stress, the noise I hoped would stop when I closed the doors last June but which keeps buzzing out of envelopes with official seals on the front.

So, um, what else is new?


Sarah Jane said...

sucky. that's all i can say.

raina rose said...

wow. that is entirely ridiculous. may the IRS leave you alone for the rest of your life.
you deserve so much better from the world.