Thursday, September 02, 2010

Dealing With a Deaf IRS Agent

Ok, let me preface this by stating that this is not a knock on the handicapped in any way, shape or form but, rather, a knock on the hiring practices of those trying to help the handicapped find work in their preferred field.

A client of mine, an estate, has been having an issue regarding a refund.  Long story short, the IRS issued the refund in the wrong name and it was returned by the post office.  Then, when we tried to get it reissued in the right name, they said they needed proof that the executor was, in fact, the executor.  We provided court documents, letters testamentary, and figured all was right in the world.

We were wrong.

The executor of the estate, who is also a client, gets a second request for proof and he indulges the agent by resending the letters testamentary.  About 6 weeks later he gets another letter from the IRS, apologizing for asking for the wrong form and then, apparently trying to drive us mad, he asks for a court document stating that my client is the executor of the estate.

My client is now completely frustrated.  The deceased died more than 5 years ago and the only thing keeping the estate open and active is this stupid fucking refund.  Once it's received, the money will be distributed to the heirs and the books will be closed on the estate.  He calls me up to see if, perhaps, I can't figure out how to deal with this issue.  I tell him he needs to send the letters testamentary and he laughs, calls me an asshole and says he's done that.  More than once.

I ask him to fax me the most recent correspondence and I tell him I will resolve the situation before the weekend. (Bold words on my part, more so since I am preoccupied with trying to find porn that will get thru my sonicwall so I can celebrate the return of my left thumb in proper, McNoogin type fashion).

I call the agent and leave a message that said "you asked for proof, we sent you proof, several times and now you tell us you want court documents, which is what we've been sending all along so, please, cut to the chase and tell me what document, other than letters testamentary, will suffice."

No response from the agent Monday.  Nor Tuesday.  Finally, today, Thursday, I get a call, only it isn't from the agent.  No, I get a call from a federal call forwarding service.  I'm with a client, a kid who's having trouble getting his shit together whilst trying to provide for himself, go to college and pay off his back taxes.  I apologize to the kid and take the call.

Apparently, the IRS agent is deaf and the only way he can call is by using a service, such as the one explaining the call to me.  Mr. IRS types into his computer, a woman reads the words to me, I respond, slowly, the woman types my response, Mr. IRS reads it and responds again. 

After the lengthy explanation of the way the call would work, Mr. IRS introduced himself, said he received my message and couldn't locate anything from the executor in regards to the aforementioned responses.  I offered to fax the document, he said great.  A 3 second call lasted about twenty minutes. 

I immediately faxed the agent the paperwork, along with a note requesting he contact me, via phone or fax, to confirm receipt and confirm that this would resolve the issue.

He calls back.  I was praying for a fax.  I know, he's just doing what anyone else would do, only in the manner in which he is capable.  Truth is, I'm happy there are services like this.  I think it's incredible that a deaf man can make calls.  I mean it.

But, and everyone always seems to have a big but, does he need to show off his abilities in an arena where time is short, clients are paying by the 15 minute interval, people don't have time to wait 20 minutes to hear "fax it to me and we're done"?

I know I'm being cold hearted here but this guy is probably a smart guy, clearly capable of moving from the ranks of individual tax issues up to estate tax issues (usually a slightly higher level of intellect involved).  Couldn't the IRS have put him in a position where all of his work is done without needing to spend time on the phone?  Think of how much more productive he'd be if he wasn't killing 20 minutes doing something that takes under 1.  If he's working on ten cases, and each case requires one conversation with the taxpayer, that's, at a minimum, 200 minutes.  More than three hours each day killed due to his needing to use a service to speak with the taxpayers. 

The only plus side to all of this is that, while I was waiting for him to type, and listening to the words being read, I was able to rat a tat away on my keyboard, in my never ending search for filter proof porn because there's no way in hell Mr. IRS was going to hear me typing.  Hell, I might have been able to rub one out as well.  The woman reading the call to me had a sexy voice.  I could've let my mind run wild and treated myself like the slut that I am.

Funky, totally random thing.  I just finished a book, Bad Things Happen (Harry Dolan) and the main character goes by the name Loogin.  Every time I read his name I smiled.  It's a great book, you should pick it up if you're into the whole reading thing.  If not, why the fuck are you here and how the hell did you make it this far?


Trenton said...

Did everything work out with the client? Did they get to close their estate? I only ask because I didn't see a resolution there. Maybe I missed it, but I don't think I did.

In any case, I find it funny that companies allow their employees to waste time doing things that are inefficient like that. Why not have protocol be that they are to respond via fax, to eliminate the need to talk to anyone period. True, it may be impersonal, but it beats having to deal with shitty attitudes on the phone.

Trent :-)

Floogin McNoogin said...

Actually, we won't know for a few weeks. The guy said he had what he needed to process the refund but that will take time and, given the inherent stupidity that is the IRS, anything could happen.

I told my client to hope for the best and expect the worst.