Posts Tagged ‘bills’

As you all know (What?  You don’t?  Well, you should.)  I just love Margaret and Helen.  Their “Tell it like it is, with humor.” blog got me through the election.  And, when my life here at home gets a bit tough, like getting a $1,200 power bill or, like yesterday, when I opened the one piece of mail, late at night (Tell, me why I even bother?) and that mail was from the Indiana Department of Revenue.



When I opened my studio I got a tax idea and somehow, thought I needed to have a Taxpayer TID number for paying employees.  I do not have employees.  The studio is so piled up with junk right now that an employee couldn’t get through IF I had one, which I don’t.



So, this year when I sent in my multitude of forms, which I never quite have understood, I decided that enough was enough.  I had already closed the studio to public view, taken down my sign, pulled my rack cards from town and alerted my Township Tax accessor that I was not working right now so I was “sort-of” closing the studio.



Okay, I can see where the “sort-of” confused them.  But, I unequivocally put in there that I had no employees, I had no State and County taxes withheld on my non-existent employees and I really want them to stop sending me the forms which confuse the %$@$ out of me.  Husband said they are drawn up by lawyers who are wanting to get the work when you cannot understand the forms. 



So, last night, I get this envelope informing me that I now owe $5,410.00 plus $541.00 in Penalty and $90.27 in interest for the taxes on employees I do not have. 



You know, this mail thing started with a $500 DirecTv bill and has gone up steadily ever since and I really need to learn not to open mail except during business hours because I do not get enough sleep already and having it run through my head all night, what kind of fight I am going to have in the morning, is not helping.



The man on the phone this morning was very nice.  I told him I want to keep my Sales Tax ID and my checking account because I have dreams of working again and he said to fill out this form BC-100, have it notarized and send it in.



“Okay, then what do I do about this $6,041.27 bill?”



“Oh, just write a letter of protest and tell them you do not have employees.” 



“But, where did they get that figure from?  Why charge me?”



“That was just because you did not send the right form in.”



That sound you hear is me banging my head against my desk. 



There again, I see little bored people, in cubicles, saying, “Hey, Mildred, wanna have some fun?”

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It seems, sometimes, that the world just likes to taser us with a jolt of adrenalin.  Mine, as I have written about lately, usually comes in the mail as a highly inflated bill.  I shared some stories this week about my own personal “really high” bills, so I thought I would let you know the outcome of the latest one; the power/propane bill.


I never, ever, ever, in my life want to open a bill and see that I owe $1,200 ever again.  But, I have to tell you that this shows me how kind the world can be.  We phoned for energy assistance, expecting to be told, as we so often are, that we make just a smidgen too much to qualify.  At the best I would have been delighted to come out of it with $200 help for this bill.  Instead, we received a monthly stipend for the coming months and a large amount of help for this month.


In the lifetime of my family, father to daughters, I could count on one hand the assistance we have received.  My father’s mill was on strike once when my two daughters and I lived with my parents.  It was difficult for him to do but he applied for, and got some food stamps.  He would never have done it for just himself and my mom, but he wasn’t going to see these little girls without milk.


I have worked most of my life and supported my children, on my own, for much of it.  I’m not used to getting help and it was a hard thing to do.  When my husband became disabled, it was tough, even applying for reduced lunches for the boys was tough, but, it is so nice to know that there is help out there for you when times are tough.  You really feel a little less alone in the world.


The woman at the assistance office has referred us to another agency, and told us to call back at the end of March for their office, for assistance in upgrading this windy house.  The other night, I taped up the back door with (please don’t tell the post office) with Priority mail tape.  I could feel the wind blow through so bad from upstairs.  Of course, the dog then spent some time barking on the stairs because she thought someone, with the shape of an x on their face was trying to break in.  I had put an x on the window to warn EMT that the door was taped shut. 


Gee, is their assistance to get the dog glasses?

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I vent – Part 2

I have come to hate opening the mail. It is not just that bills come in the mail; it is that bills come in the mail that are obscenely higher than they should be.

In the month after my open heart surgery, I opened the AT&T land line bill (normally $30) to find they had charged me $51 for the privilege of having a party line every time it rains. They seem to think it is a perk. It happens every time it rains and the company, who owned our phone lines prior to AT&T buying it, was working on fixing it. They never charged me $51 to come out and say, “Duh, I don’t hear it, because I came out four days after the rain and the lines are dry.” Even though they heard it when they tested the line.

That same month, Cingular cell phone company had a bunch of charges on our bill for features that I had specifically told them to make sure were shut off, so I would not open the bill and have a heart attack. They wrote these off our bill; bless their little heart.

And, finally, that same month, I opened up our DirecTV bill to find an additional $500 tacked on for certain movies. Not a thing that someone who has just had open heart surgery wants to see, trust me. The next month, as I fought the first bill, they charged me an additional $300, for more movies.

Okay, I have a husband and three grandsons in the house. I understand that they like to look at girls and I’m sure that girls sans clothing would be even more attractive. But, none of them are stupid enough to purchase six movies at one time (for which we were charged), nor to watch the movies for a month, in a room that everyone walks through and can see, nor to spend $800 on movies of any kind.

During the time of the purchases, we had company for Thanksgiving and we were gone for Christmas, and some of the movies were bought while the boys were in school. And, yet, DirecTV told me they must have watched these movies, because that is what boys and men do, and we must have had someone come into our house and watch during the time we were gone.

Well, what I do, in these situations, is turn to the internet and find out how many other people have the same problem. LOTS!! In fact, I found class action law suits against DirecTv for the same charges. I found a person who did not even subscribe to DirecTV and was still billed for watching movies “men like to watch.”

I also found out that you cannot find the address of the CEO of DirecTV. I am sure there is a way, but I have no idea what it is. I fought this for six months. I had automatic debit to pay that bill, as I used to do when a bill is the same amount every month and I cancelled that, and will never trust them again with my card.

During the fight, I had at least three operators tell me that the movies were watched in a pattern that people do when they steal your signal and information. And, how do they do that? They do that by the phone line that DirecTV tells you to have it plugged in. Did you know that you do not have to have it plugged into a phone line? None of our receivers are now. That was the only receiver plugged into the phone line and all movies were supposedly watched on that unit, despite the fact that one other unit is in a bedroom, where you can shut the door and have privacy.

The end of the story is that I fought long and hard enough that, while they refused to refund the money (Thank goodness our mortgage payment did not bounce.) they did give us a credit on the money and so we were paid up for about ten months of DirecTv bills. I think they made us promise to keep the service for another year too.

And, after this was settled, they sent us a very nice (sic) letter, informing us that, while they were crediting us for this bill, they, in no way were admitting that the service was stolen from our unit, we must have watched $800 in movies in, what amounted to, a one month period.

The lesson is. No direct billing for DirecTV. Do NOT hook your phone line into their receivers. And, put a password on your account.

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