6.01.2006

How long can the IRS keep me on hold?

I got a notice that I owe the IRS $18.08 because my tax return was a month late. My tax return was not a month late; I mailed it on April 17, like probably half of everybody else. But now I'm up to 19 minutes and 56 seconds on hold, so I think I may just pay them the $18.08 so that I can get off the phone and get on with my life. This must be some sort of scheme.

3 comments:

Kevin O'Mara said...

A Tip For The General Populace, Rather Unrelated To This But Just Close Enough:

When dialing into an automated system, NEVER press a button. At all. Ever. Most systems still have to have some sort of failsafe for those nonagenarians and weird hipsters that use rotary dial phones and don't have buttons to press. If you sit still for long enough they *will* connect you with a human without you having to wade through obfuscated menus. I have never had it fail me yet.

This doesn't work for FedEx, of course, where you have to speak your choice. I hear (but can not personally confirm) that those systems are trained to notice curse words, though, and *that* will get you through to a human.

Of course none of this matters when the humans put you on hold. For 19 minutes and 56 seconds.

jaz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You probably weren't a month late - but to the IRS, one day or 29 days, it's all the same.

So, unless you went out of your way to make sure that your return was postmarked on 4/17, you are stuck. Just dropping it in a mail receptacle that day isn't enough. For example, our local PO was not staying open late the 17th. Which means that folks that took their returns to the post office after 5:30 pm got 4/18 postmarks and are eligible for the late charge.

How much is your time worth? I'd pay the fine and try to mail my return a day or two ahead of the deadline next time. Or file electronically with an electronic debit set to withdraw the funds on The Day (tm).