My Tax Return Sleeps with Lois Lerner’s Emails – Once Again Government Impresses Me with Its Efficiency

I just got a letter from the IRS (something which always warms the cockles of my heart), thanking me for my check but puzzled because I hadn’t filed my return. Problem is, that check they received was stapled to my return.

Perhaps that return is in the same place that Lois Lerner’s emails are.

So I will probably have a long battle, and face stiff fines for failure to timely file. My tax attorney has a copy of the return and dated, stamped envelope, but it certainly doesn’t give me more confidence in our government.

It reminds me of an experience I had years ago. I got a parking ticket in Berkeley, CA. They gave you an envelope, printed in blue or green ink (the artists among you can probably explain to me which color) with the address of the parking violations bureau. I placed it on my dashboard for a few days (weeks?) then mailed it in with a check like a good citizen and thought nothing of it.

Weeks later I got a letter from the U.S. Postal Service. In it was my ticket envelope, check, and a letter saying it had been held in the dead letter office as undeliverable for no address and no return address. They stated they had to hold it for a certain time before opening it (why? No one could possibly know they have it, so why wait?) I had indeed not put my return address on the envelope (my bad) but the address, although faint, was legible. There it was – Berkeley Parking Violations, Whatever Address, Berkeley, CA. The printing was now yellow (here’s where you artists come in – what color bleaches in sun to yellow?), but I could read it.

My ticket had matured like a War Bond, and was no longer worth $13 or whatever (it was a few year ago…) but cost me several hundred dollars or at least $30. I was a poor grad student.

So I went to the Post Office and asked why it was undeliverable. Here is where it got bizarre.

The postal clerk told me, looking at the envelope, “There is no address on this envelope.

I looked at him incredulously. “Of course there is. It says, “Berkeley Parking Violations, whatever address it said, Berkeley, CA.”

He shook his head. “There is no address on this envelope.”

I said, “Call the Postmaster. This is absurd.”

The Postmaster came over and looked at the envelope.

“There is no address on this envelope.”

Here’s the thing. If they had said, “This address is too faint to read. It does not meet our minimum standards for legibility and is thus undeliverable,” I would have accepted that. If they had said, “We machine process 8 gazillion letters a day, and this letter was rejected because the printing is so faint that it could not be sorted properly and went into an undeliverable bin,” I could have understood that.

But to stand there and lie, and deny reality, when they both knew that there was faint printing on the envelope, speaks of a culture where facts are not relevant and results do not matter because no one is held accountable. Solidarity with a union member (affiliated with the AFL-CIO) trumps service to customers.

The only other possible explanation is that, like in Men in Black II, these postal employees truly were aliens from other worlds whose visual spectrums did not allow them to see in the 570 to 590 nm wavelength.

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