My 2004 Returns Are Lost In Space!!
The Feds Report That My Return Is "Still Under Review" After More Than 6 Months; And The State Of Michigan Announces That My Return Was "Eaten By Wild Animals"!
Having patiently waited a bit more than the six months that passed between my filing and the arrival of my federal refund check last year, I finally visited the IRS "Where's My Refund" website in September of 2005 to see what's going on. After entering the requisite data, the site returned the message that "We have identified a problem in processing your refund." I promptly got a Ms. Soong, Employee #25-03766, on the phone at the 800 number provided for those wishing to inquire further. Ms. Soong (who, by virtue of her repeated refusal to provide me with contact information for anyone else who could or would do so, has therefore taken personal legal responsibility for the IRS's failure to process my return so far), corrected the website assertion: No problem has actually been identified with my return, but it was, six months after being received, "Still under review"! (It remains "under review", all two pages of it, as you read this.)
Coincidentally, also 6 months or so after receiving my MI1040, someone at the state of Michigan (who, unsurprisingly, chose to act anonymously) just sent me a notice saying "Since you never filed a return, we've gone ahead and figured your taxes for you..." (more-or-less). Okay, so this criminal didn't actually claim the return was eaten by wild animals... He or she should have. If someone is going commit the offense of lying about something like this (and the offense of denying me due process of law), that someone ought to use a little imagination. After all, he or she stands to be as thoroughly hung for a lamb as for a sheep (as the saying goes), so why not add some color to the crimes?
I'll keep you all informed as these situations develop, but I want to take this occasion to emphasize that at the end of the day, the sole bolt-hole left to a taxing agency seeking to evade the law in the face of an informed, but (in the agency's eyes) inconvenient filing is to attempt to thwart the knowledgeable American's right to be heard in an egregious violation of the filer's due process rights (and usually several criminal statutes as well).
To fully appreciate the nature of this outrage, it is necessary to recognize that every tax return is the testimony of one of the sides in what amounts to a legal hearing. When a tax agency refuses to acknowledge a return-- whether by claiming it was never filed, or declaring it "frivolous', or by means of any other pretext-- it is actually saying, "We're sorry, Mr. Smith, but we held a hearing, just like the law requires. You were notified of the time and place, and that somebody else was testifying about you, but you never showed up! Since you didn't bother to contest the other party's testimony, it stands as established, and, hey, what a coincidence! That means we get to keep all your money!"
But, of course, "Mr. Smith" WAS there, and DID testify. In trying to deny these simple, provable facts, the agency is suggesting that it can simply disregard testimony that doesn't serve its interests. It cannot, however; and the effort to imply the contrary is a horrendously corrupt defiance of the most fundamental principles of the rule of law, and should be the chief focus of anyone whose proper filings are facing anything but respectful acceptance and processing.
My Initial Response To Michigan's Claim That My State Return Was Eaten By Wild Animals
You will all remember that in the October 16th newsletter I reported having received a friendly notice from the state of Michigan informing me that the state, having (as it alleged) never received a return from me for 2004, had gone to the trouble of calculating a tax due on my behalf (as reprinted above). In the expectation that some will find it of interest, I am posting my initial response below, along with the filed documents which the state found so inconvenient as to cause it to resort to this desperate and corrupt ploy.
(NOTES: Under Michigan law, the testimony on a state return constitutes testimony as to the relevant content of the corresponding federal return, and the state's suggestion that it has received legally meaningful information regarding my federal return from the IRS on the basis of which a tax due figure higher than the -0- on my MI1040 could be computed is no less nonsense than its assertion that it never received my MI1040. Not only does the IRS, as it struggles to find a way around my federal return in much the same way that Michigan seeks to evade my state filing (and with a similar regard for its ethical and legal obligations), report that my 2004 federal return is "Still under review" (after nearly seven months now), but it is in any case incapable of executing a return contrary to the one that I have already timely filed, and from which the relevant figures on my MI1040 are derived.
The language of the Michigan Code section MCL 205.21 to which I refer is, pertinently, as follows:
The section, and those following, go on to provide for informal conferences, appeals, etc., etc.-- all predicated, of course, on the assertion that no return was filed (or that one which was filed lacks information supporting the tax-due figure calculated and recorded thereon).)