Would you rather be right or happy?
I have been trying to officially shut down my business for the past 6 months. The “final“ franchise taxes, the “Public Info Report“, the “final“ Sales & Use taxes, and beaucoup other necessary forms were sent to the Workforce Commission and the Comptroller’s Office months ago. I have been patiently awaiting for my “Certificate of Account Status” (a.k.a. “letter of good standing”) from the IRS showing that I don’t owe anything. This elusive document is the key to legally closing my business. It has to be sent to the Secretary of State’s Office along with “Form 651“ and a $40 filing fee in order for my corporation to be dissolved.
For some reason, Certificate of Account Status sightings are as rare as spotting Bigfoot or Nessie. People tell me it exists, but I have yet to see it for myself. So, I wait. And hope. And wait some more.
And then the other day I received a letter from The Comptroller’s Office. Hurray! Could this be what I’ve been waiting for all these months? I tore into the envelope like a child opening a present on Christmas Day, only to discover that instead of the new iPAD I had requested from Santa I had been given socks. Or in this case, even worse than socks, a notice for “overdue quarterly taxes.”
I was immediately enraged. Didn’t they know that I closed my business at the end of 2012 and paid all of my taxes? Didn’t they read the bazillion forms that I had sent to them?
The short answer: nope.
When I pointed out to the cranky IRS lady on the phone that we had checked the box on the forms indicating that this was a “final“ tax report and that we were “requesting the Certificate of Account Status“ because I had closed my business, her angry reply was…. (drum roll please)
“Just because you checked the box does not mean we are going to read the box.“
My ears could not believe what they were hearing. She was mad at me because they didn’t do their job correctly. Never mind the fact that she was now demanding I send her two more forms that my CPA would later charge me an additional $87.50 to file. And of course it would also now be another 6-8 week wait before I receive the holy grail of business documents, The Certificate of Account Status.
Part of me wanted to tear into her and try to get her to admit that I did everything right and that they dropped the ball on their end. I wanted her to acknowledge that if they weren’t going to read the checked boxes on the tax forms then they shouldn’t be printed on there in the first place. I also (admittedly, somewhat irrationally) wanted her to personally pay my CPA the additional $87.50 that this new paperwork was going to cost me.
But, on the other hand…I just wanted this to be over.
Not long ago, my husband asked me the question, “Would you rather be right or happy?“ Without skipping a beat, I said, “Happy, of course.” Now, I wasn’t so sure.
Undeniably, there is a certain measure of happiness to being right. In the corporate world, everyone always wants to be right, and they want the credit for it. They rarely admit to making mistakes. I always preferred being happy and being honest. That’s probably why I’m not working in the corporate world anymore. The office politics and the jockeying to be seen as better, smarter and more valuable than your coworkers never agreed with me and I refused to participate.
So that’s when I decided not to argue with the agent on the phone. She was still in the corporate world and I’m sure her day was going to be filled with angry phone calls and frustrated business owners all yelling and wanting to be right. I didn’t need to add to her stress. No good was going to come from it. Lashing out and “being right“ would have felt good momentarily, but then I would have regretted being so ugly to another person and unable to apologize for it. And besides, I would still have to file and pay for the additional paperwork so that wasn’t going to change.
Instead, I heard her out, took copious notes and said thank you before hanging up. I mentally wished her good luck with the rest of her day and thanked God that this process is almost over and that I don’t work for the IRS. The additional legal paperwork was mailed off that very same day and now the waiting game begins again.
But at least I’m happy. 🙂