Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Witty Joke About Taxes Here  

Like I said yesterday, this has been quite the eventful week. I can't spill on everything, but one thing that just got removed from the docket was…

Misc: As a self-employed person, my tax structure is a little more complicated than the average 9-to-5 employee. In some ways this is good, but in general it just means I pay more and there's more paperwork to do. I'm certainly not a tax expert, but I do my best to keep up and I've been using a series of accountants for the last few years. (I still haven't found a good one, but I'm going to keep on trying.)

Anyway, for some bizarre reason my accountant last year forgot to include a small number somewhere on the return, and neither the IRS or I were aware of it until very recently. (Carrying that 3 is hard work, I guess.) We got it straightened out eventually and I've been paying off the difference in monthly installments on time, every time. Yesterday, I get a letter saying that I've defaulted on my payments and that the IRS is levying my property.

After I recovered from a small heart attack, I went back home to double check my records and could not see anything that could have triggered this aggro response. All the checks had been written and cashed, et cetera, so I took a trip down to the local IRS branch office to get it straightened out.

It made me feel a little better to see that it took the helpful person at the desk about 40 minutes before they got a handle on what was going on with my account, so obviously I wasn't the only one that was confused. Long story short, because the amount owed had changed, it automatically put my account into default even though I had been making my payments as agreed, on time.

Let me just restate this for clarity: I was doing everything I was supposed to do, but because the IRS changed some numbers, their first response was to threaten me with property seizure.

I was glad to find out that I hadn't done anything wrong although I hardly think it's an appropriate response to put someone into a negative status when they haven't actually done anything, but here’s the kicker… because my account had been put into default, I had to pay a $45 fee to reinstate the payment plan.

Again, for clarity: they defaulted me even though I had been following our agreement to the letter, but I had to pay cash to get back on the payment agreement that I never broke in the first place.

I'm not anywhere close to calling myself a Republican, but complete BS like this is making the whole "do away with big government" concept a little more appealing.

Games: A charming old-school throwback with a serious addiction factor, N+ was released for Live Arcade today and I completely recommend the download. (DS and PSP versions will follow in April.) Although looking at screenshots does absolutely nothing to convey what a joy this game is to play, trust me when I say that it's a unique platforming experience that gets my seal of approval.

I was fortunate enough to speak to one-half of the development team recently, the gracious and talented Mare Sheppard. You can see the original interview here, and I plan on doing a follow-up piece to see how things have gone since we first chatted. Check back for more details, and buy this game!

Also on Live today, an add-on pack was released for Overlord. Although I personally found this title to be more enjoyable in concept than in practice, it was still a decent game that I had some fun with. It will never make my top 10 list, but you know what I'm saying. Promising new weapons, upgrades, and an expanded single-player segment, I'm definitely going to check it out (although the wife will probably get to it first.)

SIFT2: Last but not least, I'm pretty sure I've found a good title, but I'm not completely decided yet. Regardless, I've been chipping away and although my last weekend wasn't nearly as productive as I had hoped, I've got four rough chapters in the bag. Everything is still in the very early phases, but progress is being made...

What next?

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