A couple of weeks ago we got a letter from Our Friends at the IRS. It seems they were a bit surprised that two clergypeople would actually give something around the Biblical tithe to charity, and that one middle-aged woman could actually have medical conditions that required fairly expensive meds. And then they realized that one of the clergypersons is self-employed, and thus has to pick up the tab for continuing ed, conferences, books, office supplies, and dues to professional organizations himself. Made 'em nervous, I guess.
So the letter arrived, asking for all sorts of documentation to justify the deductions. I procrastinated for two weeks so I could enjoy my birthday in peace (more on that later).
Here's part of the challenge: some stuff is on auto-bank draft, and there is nothing akin to a cancelled check to show. Print off the bank statements, yes, but it doesn't say to whom the EFT is going. Another part of the challenge is that we don't receive cancelled checks anymore, and we can only get the images online for the past six months, and this request is for 2011 documents.
Still, it was a day of sorting through the files to assemble the proof that they want. Took something like six hours to get all the files in order the way I wanted. Now I have to make photocopies of the receipts and such - maybe 100 pages or so. That's a lot of trees to kill, folks.
I thought about what would happen if they disallowed the deductions. It would hurt us - probably mean another couple of grand to the government - but we would survive. But when I think of the amount of time it will take them to sort through what I am about to send, and the people-cost of that time, it just doesn't seem like a wise return on investment on the government's part.
Or that might just be me whining about spending a Saturday - a rare Saturday-off kind of Saturday - covering my dining room table with all our financial records, a laptop, a tablet computer, and a large cup of coffee, to do something that just seems a little ridiculous to me.
(hoping the IRS doesn't read this and take offense, penalizing me even more than a day of busy-work)
Grumbling, but better now that it is done, for the moment.