Last year the IRS was withholding too much from my paycheck for the first six months. I checked with my tax program on my computer, and it told me to claim “17” for my exemptions. In theory, this would lower the amount that the IRS withheld, so that I wouldn’t end up getting a huge refund from all the extra money the government would borrow from me interest free. It worked, because I did my taxes, and I ended up owing just over $100 in federal taxes (after having 5K withheld). I thought, “OK, great! Now I have to switch my withholding so I don’t end up paying next year.” I got a new W-4, filled it out, and was going to hand it in Monday night at work. Worked out pretty smooth right?
Not so, McGee! I got a letter from the Infernal Revenue Sadists, and it said (in effect), “Your withholding is way too high (17), and so we are going to automatically change your withholding to a Single rate with 0 (zero) exemptions.” Holy flaming dollar bills, Batman! The letter goes on to say that if I file a new W-4 claiming greater than the amount specified (zero), it will be ignored. AAAhhhh! So I need to call the IRS today and clarify how I can get this corrected. I can understand them automatically changing my status, but why, when I have filed “Married filing jointly” for the past 13 tax years, would they change my rate to single??? And why would they make my exemptions zero when I obviously have myself, my wife, and my three kids as exemptions? Literally, this is your tax dollars at work.
Huckabee supports eliminating the IRS and proposing a flat tax. Yet another reason to support him.
UPDATE 02/05/08 2330:
I called the IRS this morning when I got home from work. The lady was very helpful. She told me that they change people to “single, 0 exemptions” so that they get motivated to call in and fix the problem. She went through the W4 with me, plugged in my current income, and came up with a correct exemption number and “married” status. So everything’s copacetic. Thanks for the high blood pressure, government bureaucracy!