Since a little over a year I have been shocked over the extreme level of incompetence that I have encountered in IRS, the US tax agency. It started when they lost a form I sent them. Since they received the second form that was in the same envelope, I think we can be pretty sure it was IRS, and not USPS, who lost it.
After getting a request for the form some 2 months later, I sent in a copy, but due to an error in the copy printed from a file, I had to amend it. The problem with IRS seems to be that the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing, and neither hand is connected to any sort of brain.
What happened is that they kept sending out requests for that form, and then for other forms, and over and over, from different offices. After a while they sent out statements that I owed them money, then a new letter came a few days later saying I didn’t owe them, and then I supposedly owed them again, and so on. Apparently, it took so long for them to process correspondence that their response was totally out of sync with the paper trail.
And here is my most damning criticism. When they do send out a claim, they fail to provide any sort of calculation or reference to the paper trail.
This is a deadly sin in any bureaucracy.
There is just no defense for it.
It is this incompetence that causes the entire problem. Let me give you an example. Today I got a letter saying that what I paid for a certain period was $355 less than what I filed for that same period. The letter did not mention neither how much I supposedly paid, nor how much I supposedly filed for, just the difference of $355.
It is beside the point that I neither paid nor filed for that period, what drives me nuts is that IRS sends out these anonymous letters without providing the necessary information for the taxpayer to be able to assess the validity of the claim, and respond to it.
Also, the letter is completely anonymous. Not even the initials of a person authorizing it. Could it be because nobody wants to be associated with it, knowing full well that it is fraudulent?
There is definitely a fish buried in IRS. Reforming USA might well start with reforming IRS (and the tax code). Most of the employees could surely be fired. They are obviously too incompetent to keep on taxpayers’ salary anyway.