231. The Tax Charge

The envelope had the words “Internal Revenue Service” on the outside. Oh no, Vaughn thought, this be bad news. It was bad news. IRS determined that Vaughn owed $963, plus $88 interest, two years ago. They had disallowed a deduction two reasons. One, his adjusted gross income that was more than $40,000, and two, he was by an employer retirement plan. Therefore, said IRS, was not allowed the deduction he had taken his individual retirement account.

IRS sent him six of explanations and instructions. IRS included a returnable with an "Agree" box and a "Disagree" box. he checked Agree, he must pay the full . If he checked Disagree, he must send documentation the reasons for his disagreement. If his documentation correct, he would owe nothing.

He called the 800 number just to make sure he had the instructions correctly. An agent told him to send a check with the full amount whether agreed or disagreed. If he disagreed but his was correct, IRS would return the full amount his check within eight weeks.

“Don’t believe that . For now, just send them the documentation,” advised 's brother later that day. “Make IRS wait for money. It’s your money, not theirs.”