The IRS is like eating your vegetables: you don’t want to deal with them, you don’t like dealing with them, but if you don’t you’ll wind up dead in a drainage ditch somewhere wishing you hadn’t blown through all of your pre-tax 1099 earnings before D-Day. And because everybody hates the IRS, it's no surprise that some of the best revenge stories are IRS revenge stories.
If you’ve ever had the joy of calling them on the phone, you’ll know that getting a real living person with a pulse on the line is almost impossible – why wouldn’t it be? These are government employees we’re talking about; they get paid to act like they’re having perpetual menstrual cramps while “helping” you. But I can’t even blame them -- if you could act like a complete douche without losing your job, you probably would.
But this brings us to the hero of our story, “Nathan.” Nathan is a “brilliant engineer/crazy person” as most intelligent engineers are, and is the sort of dude who doesn’t give up no matter how hard it gets. This is even true when it comes to the IRS, as Redditor fox-mcleod explains how one day he found Nathan going ham on some envelopes at work: I came into work and saw checks and envelopes spread all over his desk. And Nathan filling them out with the kind of grin Steve Buscemi might have crossing names off a list with a tube of lipstick.
I ask him about it and he calmly starts explaining that he's "having trouble with the IRS." I probe a little deeper since that in no way explains more than one check or envelope and he starts telling me about how last year during tax season he was in China for work so he started filling his taxes out early while at his parents' house. He owed a little but left before he could mail it in. But he remembered while in China and (broke through the firewall in order to) paid it online. But then his parents, thinking he forget, wrote a check for him and mailed his taxes in too. So now his taxes would be paid twice. So they said don't worry about it, we'll cancel the check. In true government employee fashion, not only did they cancel the check but they also fined Nathan $40. Apparently the NYS IRS has a cancelled check fee of $40, and they sent him the bill for it.
While you and I might say “Fuck it, whatever,” Nathan had a different plan. Who says the average shmuck can't get some good IRS revenge stories on their own? Not Nathan, that's for sure: Nathan, why do you have 20 checks on your desk? "Oh, well after I explained to them what was wrong with the fee they didn't get it." So Nathan spent the next 4 weeks escalating the issue to the point that he got a case officer - a real, live human agent on the phone with a case number. Nathan started by asking for the agent to spell his name - and politely to demonstrate that he was where he said he was by asking how the weather was and how the "drive in" had been that day. He then asked for his agent's manager - got their name and exchanged some pleasantries.
He explained that his parents wrote the check but that he was the one being charged the fee. The agent explained that this was the policy of the IRS - "All cancelled checks will result in a $40 fee". The agent and Nathan went in rigorously compliant circles for hours exploring the rules.
Nathan eventually was able to confirm that:
Ballsy as ever, Nathan even asked the IRS representative on the phone if “I (Nathan), could write a $10 check and indicate it's for you (Mr. "Agent" at 1234567 Schenectady, NY) and cancel it resulting in a $40 fee for you with absolutely no penalty or recourse to me?"
You see where this is going… So, that's what Nathan did. And that's what was doing with 20 checks on his desk and what he meant by "IRS trouble". He was following through... sending checks to the IRS addressed to pay the taxes of the agent and the agent's manager - so Nathan could cancel them, causing the agent and his manager to owe the IRS a fee for each cancelled check. He was exploiting the same flaw in the system in which he was caught to essentially extort the IRS agents. It only took about three weeks, but Nathan received a letter from the IRS stating “Sir, we understand the point you’ve made. Please consider your fee waived and I hope we can put this behind us.”
There are now only two entities who can honestly tell IRS revenge stories: Nathan and scientology.
Someone send this guy a fuckin’ medal.