I have shared some information about my family here, but mostly good news or funny stories. I rarely air my problems on my blog, but I think what is going on in my life right now is something that needs to be shared because it effects everyone in the United States. I'm writing this blog because I am absolutely desperate.
Many of you may have read the abuse of power stories lately concerning the Internal Revenue Service. The personal story I am about to tell you is incredibly frightening. Here is my story...
I talked about my father's illness in my blog about my book dedication to him. He has a terminal genetic illness for which there is no treatment and no cure, and we are not likely to see one before he succumbs to this disease. It's like a combination of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. There is a mutant protein that is destroying his brain cells.
He moved in with us about nine years ago while he could still take care of himself and was mostly independent with the idea that when he needed more care, he would move. Not long after he arrived, we were able to get disability benefits for him since he had no income. He was forced to retire because he could no longer perform his job due to the progression of his disease.
When he started having symptoms, he made some bad business decisions including refusing to pay his taxes one year. We knew that was an issue when he moved in, so we started trying to help him with the IRS issue. As soon as he started receiving disability benefits, the IRS immediately put a levy on it and started taking about $300 a month. I told dad that he would just have to cope with the loss of funds while we were trying to deal with the IRS.
What we didn't know is that the IRS did not want to deal with us. Now that they had a way to get to dad, they refused to help us unless we could write them a check for what he owed, which none of us could afford, including dad.
We called and called the IRS and time and time again got no cooperation from them to help resolve the issue. We finally just thought he would have to put up with losing the $300 they were taking. But the IRS was not done. About a year after they started withholding money, they upped the amount they were taking to 70%.
I panicked. Now dad couldn't even afford to pay his bills, and he started to become a financial burden on our family. I didn't see how it could be legal to take 70% of anyone's income, much less a disabled person with a terminal disease. I looked it up and found that the IRS does indeed have the right to do this. I was stunned, How did they expect people to live? I tried calling the IRS again to explain dad's illness and his need for care and medication, but it fell on deaf ears.
We hired a CPA, but the IRS kept running her around in circles too and wouldn't provide her with the paperwork she needed. Now we have had to hire another accountant and even consulted a lawyer, but they have both said that we may go through all of the IRS hoops, and still be right where we are.
The problem is that dad's condition has deteriorated to the point where it is no longer safe for him to live with us. He needs more care than we can provide, but we can't afford it. He can't go up our stairs, and we don't have a full bathroom downstairs, so I have to take him the gym to shower. We are hoping the new CPA will be able to help us get this matter resolved.
But all that isn't the scary part. We recently received a letter from Social Security saying that the levy had been removed and the IRS was no longer going to take 70% of his funds. We were cautiously optimistic that maybe the statute of limitations had passed and they could no longer take dad's money.
Nope. What we found out is that they put a levy on his bank account instead. You see, they are limited to 70% of his income; however, once his disability funds are directly deposited into his bank account, then that is considered an asset, and the IRS can take 100% of your assets including any money you have in the bank. Again, I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself. I am absolutely stunned that a terminally ill person in this country can be left absolutely penniless and unable to afford the medical care they need.
I am absolutely heartsick. This last year has been so hard on my family having to deal with dad, and it has been hard on him too. Now even the few hundred dollars he was getting a month to live on is gone, and we can't afford to move him into the assisted living home we had set up to care for him.
We have appealed to his bank and Social Security, and both of them said they were helpless to change anything. We have pleaded with the CPA to rush dad's case through, so we can file all the necessary paperwork the lawyer will need to try to stop the IRS, but at this point, I'm not very hopeful.
Even more scary, I had dad's accounts connected to mine, so that I could monitor his activity to make sure he didn't spend too much, and I have occasionally had to transfer money into his account to cover overdrafts. As a result, I found out that the IRS could take every cent of mine as well claiming that his funds were part of mine, and it would be up to me to try to prove them wrong while I had no money to hire a lawyer. I had to rush dad to the bank to make sure all of our connections to his account was severed.
As a side note, the IRS tried to bully me into turning on my father. They sent me threatening letters, and then they sent a letter saying that I had made a mistake on my taxes, and that I owed them a large sum of money. I had made a mistake, but in my favor, and they actually owed me money. My one small victory in all of this.
I knew they had powers that extended beyond what should be legal, moral or ethical, but I had no idea what they were capable of and allowed to do to Americans under the law. I know they follow things on the internet and even posting this blog makes me uncomfortable, but people need to know. This is the United States, and I shouldn't be afraid of the government because I'm talking about the IRS. Something needs to change...