9-cent IRS dilemma leaves lawyer confused
“It’s not the money; it’s the principle” is an old saying that usually brings a knowing, world-weary scoff from veteran Detroit criminal defense lawyer James Howarth.
“But I think this time with the IRS, it is the principle,” Howarth said.
After all – this is about 9 cents.
While many may fight the Internal Revenue Service over thousands of dollars, Howarth said he’s in a dilemma with the federal agency, and he insists it’s no chump change controversy.
“We are talking the IRS here,” he said.
In mid-November, Howarth received notice that his FICA account, even after an adjustment, was out of whack.
He owed the IRS a nickel. And the IRS was serious.
It advised him to act promptly “to avoid additional penalty and/or interest.”
But then a second letter arrived. This one said Howarth had a refund coming.
The amount? Four cents. But to get it, Howarth would have to ask for it because it was less than $1.
“When I owe them a nickel, I must pay them,” he said.“It’s not optional. But when they owe me, I have to ask for it.”
Hey isn’t it almost that time of year?!