(Toledo, OH) My wife and I are in the process of refinancing our mortgage, and part of the reason we wanted to refinance is to clear up an old debt we have with the Internal Revenue Service.
Years ago I owned some restaurants, and there were some unpaid taxes owed to the IRS for which I became personally responsible as an officer of the corporation. Although my wife was not an officer, she acted in a financial capacity for the company, and an IRS revenue officer later added her to the list of people held personally responsible.
Fair enough, I suppose, as this would also prevent me from shifting all my assets to my wife's name and playing an Enron-esque shell game. Besides, I do feel a moral obligation to pay my debts, and a marriage is "for better or worse."
We have now entered a strange Catch-22 with the IRS due to the fact that, in running credit reports, it appears to the mortgage company that my wife and I have separate debts, and not a joint debt. The IRS has duly been keeping track of my balance as payments are made, but reports my wife's debt at the original amount (about $24,000 including interest and penalties).
Thus, the mortgage company is balking, thinking that there is an extra lien for $24,000. This makes our overall debt look that much higher.
However, I cannot get a cooperative IRS employee to write a simple letter that says my wife's lien will go away the minute my debt is paid (currently a little over $7,000). I spent most of an entire day being trasferred, put on hold, and (at one point) hung up on.
I said to one administrator: "Look - I am just ITCHING to give you this $7,000, and all you have to do is write a quick letter explaining the situation and fax it to my mortgage broker."
The best that this person was willing to do is to put in a request to update my wife's lien, so the amount is identical to the lien in my name.
Oh - best part - "that will take 30-45 days."
At this point I got pretty indignant. I did not cuss, threaten, or act inappropriately toward this person - who gave me an ID number in lieu of an actual name - but I implored her to act like a human being instead of an automaton.
"Look, 75018 [number changed to protect identity] - I know that there are procedures to follow," I said. "Surely there is someone who is authorized to handle such a request."
"No sir," she said. "You will have to wait like everyone else." CLICK.
At this point, representatives of the mortgage broker are huddling, trying to decide how to proceed. They want to refinace us (all the numbers are good), they want to pay my $7,000 debt to the IRS, but they have to abide by their own internal criteria.
This situation is enough to make the most ardent leftist become a gun-toting, government-hating, libertarian revolutionary.