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By Babs IversonPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 5 min read
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

A wildfire is raging in the Texas Panhandle. The destruction is mindblowing, catastrophic, and making national news. Perhaps you heard or read about the Texas fire. Right now, the news outlets are reporting that the fire is 44% contained. Miraculously, here in North Texas, the smoke from the fire hasn't affected our area.

Ironically, when there's an unexpected problem, people gasp saying that they are "putting out fires." While it's not a literal fire, it's a stressful, traumatic, upsetting problem. Naturally, the problem needs immediate attention.

During the last two weeks and a day, my time, focus, and energy were spent dealing with an unexpected problem. It's important to note that there shouldn't have been a problem. However, with all the anxiety and stress, it was much like putting out a fire.

As you know, Tax Season is upon us! Having received all the 2023 important tax documentation, my action plan was to file on the 20th of February. On the 17th, the tax preparer service that was used last year sent me an email with a discount offered. On the 19th of February, the same company sent an email but it was for a different kind of service. Not realizing it at the time, it would become apparent.

On the 20th as planned, I clicked on the 19th of February's email instead of the 17th. In hindsight, that was a huge mistake. However, the information from last year's return appeared. Therefore, I went on to upload the tax documents online completing the task the following day which was the 21st.

At that point, agita started. Why? Because the pro who reviewed my previous year's 1040, sent messages. Their messages appeared on my screen. But, I wasn't able to reply to their communications. There wasn't a scroll bar or submit button. Therefore, there was no way to respond to their messages.

Frustrating and upsetting, my first thought was to call their national number. That's exactly what I did. Called an 800 number and endured AI's lengthy process just to speak to a human.

Once a human answered, I did my best to explain the situation and that the message center wasn't operating properly. While messages were received, my reply only appeared as a draft and wasn't being sent. In addition, there wasn't a scroll bar or submit button. After all that, the call was forwarded. For a while, it appeared that they hung up. But! Continued to wait. Then, a tech came on the phone line. Reiterating what was happening, the tech said to empty the all-time history catch.

While that was doable on my laptop, I wasn't about to empty the all-time history catch on my grandson's desktop computer. Following the tech's instructions, the catch history was deleted on my laptop. However, that did not resolve the issue!

A few days later on the 26th, the pro again requested the ID. You know the IRS ID PIN. Unable to message the pro on their website. Made another call and went through all the rigamarole. Again, explained that the message center wasn't working. They offered to have the pro call me back tomorrow, the 27th.

Declining that suggestion, I stated," If their pro could text me, I could text back the information that was being asked for."

On the morning of the 27th, received a text message and provided the info. It appeared that would solve the problem. Wrong! The pro sent me an email with the 1040 return to review and pay. Couldn't review the return and briefly saw that the cost was $300.00.

"OMG!" I texted. "Why?"I asked.

The pro texted, "It was because the pro completed the return, in prior years you did a tax pro review which is less."

"In other words, I clicked on the wrong email message?" I questioned.

Their reply, "You may have. If you want to restart and go through the process, complete it again, and try to do a tax pro review, try that."

Understandably, I wanted to be finished with the tax return. Offering to pay the $300 but wasn't happy with the experience this year.

The pro resent the email. Again, the 1040 for review wouldn't open. Reached out to the national 800 number. Listening and reading what the AI bot was saying, my legs started to bounce uncontrollably. This is a sure sign of stress. It's the fight or flight.

Finally, a person answered. After describing how the website was looping and reviewing the 1040 couldn't be accomplished because of the looping, they forwarded me to a supervisor, Erin, not her real name, and she agreed with the pro to do the process online with the pro review at the end.

Now it's the 28th of February, started over with the online process similar to last year. Things were running smoothly did everything and paid all that was left was the pro review.

Can you guess what happened? After the pro reviewed, they sent an email for me to open, review, and sign the return; however, when clicking on the 2023 1040 submit button, it sent me back to the opening page. Yep! Again! It was looping!

The pro offered to confer with the tech people and text back with me the following day.

The following day, the 29th, by text message was given instructions to delete all-time history catch. Confirmed that was done with a picture of the history showing the three attempts to open their emails. They continued with questions. Are you using Windows? Are you using Chrome? Texting yes to both, we came to a stalemate.

What to do? Reached out to a local office near me. Within seconds, a person answered; and I explained what was happening. Cathy, not her real name, was sweet and sympathetic. Cathy had their district manager text me. Their district manager determined that the best way to finalize the return was to set an appointment and sign documentation at the local office.

Meeting with Sara, not her real name, at noon on the 5th of March, everything was signed, sealed, and delivered. Yeah! Finished! The fire was out. Not quite.

Remember that PIN #? If you used a PIN# last year and if you didn't receive one in the mail from the IRS, you can go online and receive one. After two verifications, I had my PIN for 2024.

Wednesday morning, the 6th. Texted that number to Sara. That afternoon received an email. "Congrats! The IRS has accepted your 2023 return." Finally, the fire was out!

FYI - Be careful what you click on! Have all your tax documents ready and organized. If necessary, make sure you have a PIN for 2024. Don't wait until the last minute. In case of computer issues, start the tax return process early. Hopefully, it won't take you two weeks and a day.

P.S. For 2023 filing, the IRS Free File is now available. Here is the link

In their search bar, you enter FREE File and it will take you to their online service.


About the Creator

Babs Iverson

Barbara J Iversen, also known as Babs Iverson, lives in Texas and loves her grandkids to the moon and back. After writing one story, she found that writing has many benefits especially during a pandemic and a Texas-size Arctic Blast.

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Comments (16)

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  • The Invisible Writer3 months ago

    Tax season is the worst! I had to file six returns this year. Love states that have local state and fed. I do my daughter's taxes as well if you’re wondering why so many. Loved the article

  • C. Rommial Butler3 months ago

    This just goes to prove that no amount of technology can render bureaucracy more convenient... and that the venerable Babsha does not ill treat others even where stress appears, as I'm sure "Cathy" was relieved to discover. An inspiration! I'm glad you got it sorted out but sorry to hear you had to deal with it in the first place. Well-wrought!

  • Alex H Mittelman 3 months ago

    This was fascinating and well written! You stated off very intense! 😏

  • E. J. Strange3 months ago

    It has been a while since I have gotten to read all my vocal friends works. Lol your story has inspired me not to do my taxes. Why do they have to make it such a pain?

  • Rebekah Crawley3 months ago

    This sounds so frustrating 🙈 do you have to do this every year in the US? In the UK they just take a massive portion of what we make and are done with it haha, but I’ve never had to do anything like that

  • Hannah Moore3 months ago

    Gah, this story was just too familiar.

  • Andrew Pretzel3 months ago

    sheeeshhh..... good piece

  • L.C. Schäfer3 months ago

    What a palaver!

  • Natasja Rose3 months ago

    Yikes, what an experience!

  • Test3 months ago

    Wooooaaaahhh I am so thankful I don't have to tax returns! I would definitely screw it up! Sounds like an absolute pain in the neck! Glad its done with for you!

  • Omgggg, this made my head spin! Gosh, I'm just so glad you're done with it!

  • There are so many "services" sending emails or paying Google to place their ads at the top of your searches--& they cost an arm & a leg, even when all they do is offer the same resources as the Free File. Almost fell for one of those last year. To me they are nothing but vermin, bottom feeders looking to make a quick buck the same as any other scam operation.

  • Denise E Lindquist3 months ago

    OMG Wow!! We have a service through AARP do our taxes we qualify as seniors and there is no cost as our taxes are not complicated. Standard deduction we didn't have to pay anything extra for the first time. I did our taxes once and don't wish to do them again. Education doesn't seem to matter as there is so much to know that I have no way of knowing!😉❤️😊💕

  • Gerard DiLeo3 months ago

    20 years of education and I still can’t do my taxes. I pay a pro CPA not because I want to, but because I HAVE to. I feel your pain.

  • Kodah3 months ago

    💖Very informing! Thanks for this Babs!! 💖💕

  • Sid Aaron Hirji3 months ago

    ya these scams are out of season worst

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