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Dad is IRS Alive Again!

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I was visiting dad yesterday when my cell phone rang. It was Crystal. She had just gotten off the phone with an aide to US representative Steve Stivers. He told her that the red tape which had dad listed as an IRS version of the walking dead had been broken. Jubilation was dad’s and my immediate reaction. The nine month ordeal had finally come to an end. Of course we are now left with the bittersweet knowledge that, now just like every other US taxpayer, the IRS will review his 2013 tax return (hopefully no mistakes).

As painful as the entire process has been, looking back, some good may have actually come of it. Representative Stivers’s aide also told Crystal that they would try to analyze the fault in the system and reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences in the future.

On a personal basis, dad and I have had a rare, but valuable opportunity to be a part of the ‘American way’. We have had his story carried in a free multimedia press on TV, radio, internet, and Newspaper. We especially want to thank Lori Katzman of the Columbus Dispatch and Terry Sullivan with ABC News 6. What started with a plea for sympathy and attention for a ninety-four year old WW2 veteran drew the attention of an entire political system. While it should never take such monumental effort to solve such a seemingly simple computer malady, it is nice to know that so many concerned Americans are ready to fight for what is right. Once the story aired,  people came to us wanting to help. We have spoken with one of US Senator Sherrod Brown’s aides, US congressman Steve Stivers and his aide. Both have been very helpful. Social Security has offered what help they could. One suggestion, which might have worked, came from their PR representative. He said that if we applied for a new SS card for dad the IRS data base would be automatically updated. We have also received an apology from higher ups in the IRS tax advocates office. H and R Block even offered to help “for Free”.

Everything considered, we are just overjoyed to see this whole nightmare finally coming to an end. They say that comedy is just tragedy plus time. With a story like this, it won’t take too long. Also, while I’ve never been much of a public speaker and don’t care for bright lights, the hope that our efforts may help to fix the original problem makes it all worthwhile. I hope that, the next time I am forced to face a public speaking assignment, it will be for the benefit of our bestselling memoir. Crystal will be with me for that, and we are always better together.

Here is a video link to Our ABC interview.

Winter 2013 059 - Copy - Copy

Dad at dinner in a seafood restaurant. Dad always loves seafood.

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Dad Still Dead but No Longer Alone

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Do you know how, when you hear a story about someone else’s suffering, that is so ridiculous, and you just have to laugh? Well the only problem with this story is that it is happening to us.

With another tax season in the lurch, we were at a bit of a loss in our battle with the IRS. Our Ohio tax advocate is hard at work, but we are still hitting the same brick walls we have for months. According to the IRS, my 94 years old WW2 veteran father is still listed as deceased. They still have no problem accepting his checks (signed by the dead man). It’s just his 2013 tax return that their system can’t tolerate. Recently, if this whole story isn’t strange enough, we received a query from another branch of the IRS, questioning why there is a credit balance of nearly $14,000 in dad’s account (his 2014 tax prepayment), when they are unable to find his 2013 tax return. Mmmm….that’s a stumper. Apparently, the IRS doesn’t even talk to themselves.

Well, recently, our efforts may have received a little boost. In what, in football terminology would be referred to as an “end run”.  A few weeks ago, I contacted the Columbus Dispatch with some details of our ongoing quest. The very next day, I received a call from Lori Katzman, one of the paper’s reporters. To make a long story short, today, on January 24th of 2015, the Columbus Dispatch featured the article beginning on the front page. The article called IRS says he’s dead-but wait! It is a wonderfully written article, complete with details of our struggle, and a wonderful picture taken during the interview.

The article already has captured some attention. Even before this morning’s addition came out, the story showed up online. Reporter Lori contacted me asking if it would be OK to share my E-mail address with US Senator Brown. Apparently Senator Brown might want to get involved. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

In addition, on Thursday, Channel Six (ABC) in Columbus will be sending a reporter and cameraman to interview us. While personally, I have confidence that eventually the Ohio tax advocate service would resolve our situation; there is a larger issue here. Maybe a little light can be shown on an IRS system which appears convoluted and ineffective. We have sent probably half of a tree worth of paper to the IRS over the last eight months without acknowledgement. We visited their office and finally received acknowledgement that, indeed, my father lives. However, the agent was, try as he might, unable to correct the computer problem. This process has been both aggravating and consumptive of both time and energy. Over the course of our struggles, I have come across at least two other loyal Americans with similar stories. This is a systemic problem which needs to be corrected.

While I fully realize that the current IRS staff has been reduced for budgetary reasons, it just makes sense that you can’t effectively reduce resources without proper systems in place.

Stick with us. Our web site is dedicated not only to the inevitable publication of our memoir, but to completing the stories of the three subject couples therein. Therefore, we will update this story as new developments occur.

Crystal's summer 2014 001

This is from last winter, but trust me, he is still Alive.

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IRS says dad is dead!

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Siegfried Meinstein is a WW2 veteran. There aren’t many of those left. Of particular note he served in Counter Intelligence. Our book “150Years of Marriage” has many details of his service. However now at the age of 94, rather than being celebrated for his contributions he is being harassed by our government.

On a totally unrelated topic while we wait to hear from a publisher about our memoir, I have decided to try my hand at a new genre of literature. Please enjoy the following attempt at a fable.

The Merry Land of Usa

Once upon a time in a land, not so far away was the kingdom of Usa. While overall Usa was a wonderful place, all of the subjects lived in constant fear of the omnipotent King Irs. Over the years, King Irs had become somewhat of a recluse. While his edicts and proclamations were numerous and burdensome on his subjects, he was only accessible to a handful of his closest advisors. If pressed, even they talked as if he had become an oversized specter. Indeed he was believed to be more a work of smoke and mirrors than human.

One loyal subject of the kingdom was a lowly vintner named Sigmond. Now suffering of advanced age, Sigmond had once been a mighty warrior. He fought bravely for Usa in the German Wars against the cruel King Hitelar. Of course by the time of this story all that had been long forgotten.

In the Kingdom of Usa every subject was required to pay the king’s annual tax in order to pay for castle and grounds (Purina Gator Chow for the moat, etc.) maintenance. The tax was to be accompanied by a record of the year’s production. This year, just as all which had preceded, Sigmond diligently sent his production record along with the required number of bottles of wine. However, this year was to be different. While the wine was quickly accepted by the kings Hench men, his production record was rejected. A simple note from the office of King Irs explained that the report had been rejected because Sigmond had been reported deceased by Sociacrates Securitus, advisor to the king. Only if Sir Sigmond could jump through five hoops and Sociacrates reported his vitality on the king’s special parchment stationary could Sigmond be once again declared alive and his production record accepted. At this point, Sigmond, with a recently broken hip and all too old for hoop jumping enlisted the help of his son Ronaldo. As Ronaldo was a quick witted court jester, he first thought no problem. He could hoop jump with the best of them. He and Sir Sigmond immediately sought an audience with SS (Sociacrates Securitus). SS while most gracious, adamantly denied ever issuing such a report of Sigmond’s demise. He could therefore not issue the kings special stationary order. Even as a special advisor, try as he might, SS could not communicate directly with the king. He did however scribe a note for Sigmond and Ronaldo to send to the king. Ronaldo then proceeded to jump the hoops and all was sent to the king. Not a fortnight had passed when once again Sigmond again received another note from the office of the king. It was identical in all ways to the first, save the date.

Even while knowing the definition of insanity, Sir Sigmond and Ronaldo again visited SS. At this time they received a second and more emphatic note. Ronado then proceeded to repeat the hoop jumping. He then scribed a note of his own detailing Sir Sigmond and his efforts, along with the two SS notes. Another fortnight passed and another identical letter was received.

This was unacceptable. Sigmond and Ronaldo were determined. They would go on a quest to the king’s local tax collector. Surely he could discern Sir Sigmond was still with breath and end this madness. Ronaldo assisted the hobbled Sigmond into the tax collector’s den in Columbus of Ohio. After a few pokes and a prod or two of Sir Sigmond the tax collector had to admit that “ reports of his death had been greatly exaggerated” (Mark Twain). He stamped the production report as accepted and proceeded to battle the extremely convoluted scribe and proclamation system set up by King Irs. After the passing of two quarter hours he proclaimed the mistake, ‘most likely corrected’.

Another fortnight and guess what. You guessed it. Now Sir Sigmond was beside himself and correctly noted that if this were to continue much longer, eventually the report would be correct. Ronaldo also was totally distraught. It is at that that time that Ronaldo’s faithful wife, Lady Crystal, discovered a Knight who might help, right in the king’s castle. Sir Advocate of Ohio was known to help in such situations. Ronaldo’s strength was renewed. He scribed as he had never scribed before. His report contained details of all his and Sir Sigmonds trials, hoop jumpings, the production report stamped accepted in Columbus of Ohio and letters from SS. To his amazement his efforts are almost immediately answered. However, the advocate wanted to talk with Sir Sigmond. This communication is futile since Sir Sigmond’s ear cone was not large enough. While they could speak with Ronaldo they could not do so without another of the king’s forms signed by Sir Sigmond.

It is at this point that Ronaldo realized the forces at work here were dark and hopelessly convoluted. He verbalized, so let me see if I understand you correctly. You insist that Sir Sigmond is dead, but not so dead that he can’t give me permission to speak on his behalf. When confronted with this final absurdity the frustrated Ronaldo spoke for all to hear “to heck with this, I am going to scribe in my blog”.

When news of this act of rebellion reached King Irs, from all about the kingdom through the intercastlenet, he was outraged. He grabbed the nearest scribe who was made to quill the following declamation. Hear Ye Hear Ye By order of King Irs, Death will no longer be accepted as excuse for failure to pay the annual tax.

News of this decree traveled far and wide. Soon the news reached the neighboring kingdom of Marx. Upon hearing the news, good King Groucho decided to take up a new tax of his own. He was heard to say “You‘ve got to take up the tacks (tax) before you can take up the carpet.”

And they all lived happily ever after or did they? Da Da Daaaa!

SC trip 2014 030

This is dad during our trip to South Carolina last spring. He looks pretty good for a dead guy.

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