- Posted January 16, 2013 by
Don't Ever Underestimate What the IRS can AND WILL do
I am, and have been, a typical middle to lower middle class worker for the last 11 years. In fact, I have had periods of unemployment several times the longest being 9 months. I server 9 1/2 years in the military (USAF) starting as a "one-striper" and ultimately leaving the service as a Captain. That is all of the background except one important piece. Between 2001 and 2003, a friend convinced me to join him in a software consulting business venture. It turned out to be very profitable. In fact, at the peak we were each making between $40K-$60K per month. Well I went kind of nuts with the overnight wealth and kept deferring paying taxes on the income, saying I will take care of it next month. Before next month ever came, the short lived extreme income went to 0. Ultimately that resulted, justifiably, in a foreclosure on our house with the IRS taking the equity.
As I said, since that time, I have been a typical degreed software engineer making between $80K and $125K per year (the $125 was short lived) with many months of unemployment in between (meaning out of work). All of this time, the IRS activity regarding me was dormant.
In October 2012, I relocated from Seattle, WA (I was going to be laid off from Amazon, Inc. in Seattle) and took a job with a local Birmingham company making $80K per year. Life was great, the company was great, and two weeks ago the IRS re-entered our lives.
I received notice from my employer that the IRS had submitted to them a notice of garnishment and lean against my income due to the tax debt incurred 11 years ago. I filled out the paperwork provided to me by our HR group and the next think I knew was the IRS garnished approximately 60% of my net income. I had not notice and was devastated. I couldn't pay rent, utilities, gasoline for the car (we own a 13 year old Ford Expedition that the IRS now has a lien against.
So where are we now,
1. My company, it is the best, gave me a partial advance on anticipated 2012 bonus to help pay the , other critical life sustaining expenses, and bills (e.g., Rent, Electricity, water, Waste Management, etc.)
2. Again, this payday, the IRS took over 60% of my take home pay.
3. No matter what I do, I cannot meet what it costs us to live a month (I don’t have any credit cards—I can’t even have a bank account) for rent, food, utilities, clothing, and the rest. We don’t have a car payment because we paid cash for our now 13 year old car that the IRS now has a lien against.
4. Here are our only alternatives.
a. We, as a family (my wife and I have been married for 12 years, we have a 7 year old daughter, and she has a 17 year old son for whom I am the only father he has ever known), take what is left of my next paycheck (less than 50%) of usual, get in our thirteen year old Ford Expedition, live in it.
b. I cannot work under these circumstances, so whether I resign or get fired, I will end up living on welfare and in the streets.
c. My wife and step son are legal aliens (green card) from Argentina (we would probably get more consideration if I was as well) so I could borrow money from her family and send them all back to Argentina ruining the rest of my son’s life (he will be a senior next year) and my daughter’s who is now in 2nd grade.
d. As a last resort, suicide is always an option. But the IRS has pretty well covered their bases there as well. First, as long as you have a beneficiary named on any life insurance policy, the IRS can’t take it. However, they will continue to hound your spouse for the rest of her/his life for the tax debt.
5. Let’s Make Clear
a. Look, I am completely in the wrong here. What I did 11 years ago was wrong. However, it was a onetime income windfall, I have never made that kind of money since, and if the IRS takes every penny I make for the remainder of my working life, I cannot pay it back.
6. Let’s Consider
a. On the current path the IRS is on, the only things I will be able to do is get my wife and kids back to Argentina and live as a pan handler on the streets for the rest of my life.
b. Instead of being a contributor to the revenue base of our country, I will become welfare overhead.
c. I started working when I was 14 and except for the periods of unemployment, have paid taxes for 40 years.
So, this is my story. If you think it merits consideration as human interest, please help.
Jerry T. Blair