The IRS is after us, and it's my fault.
Well, that's true except for the part about the IRS, and the part about it being my fault.
It's not actually the IRS, but the Social Security Administration which is so annoyed with something I did that they're threatening to rat me out to the IRS.
It all started several years ago, when the Boss and his girlfriend Julie went into business together. Julie put up the money, and the Boss put up his vast experience in the spending money. They set up the Julie Company to do business in areas where the Company that I work for wasn't licensed. I kept the books for the Julie Company, but I was on our Company's payroll, not hers.
Two years ago, the money ran out. Julie and the Boss cut their losses and closed her company down. It didn't mean much to me except a little less overlap in the bookkeeping. They had me send all the records I had to them, so that they could turn them over to the accountant and he could close the business properly, leaving no loose ends that might trip us up in, oh I don't know, March 2000.
In the mail today I got a notice from Social Security that no W-2s for the Julie Company had been filed for 1998, the last year of operation. There was exactly one employee on the books that year. He worked in January and made $1,700. By the time W-2s were due it was a year later, January 1999, and I no longer had anything to do with the Julie Company (which was now closed anyway).
Except the accountant didn't file the W-2s, and now Social Security wants to know why. The notice comes to Julie, who hands it to the Boss, who mails it to me with a nasty note. "Take care of this." (I guess that's not so much nasty as abrupt.)
Since the accountant has all the records, I had to go through check stubs and old time cards to figure out what was going on. And I found all the information I needed to file the forms. Except, of course, the forms themselves, which are now two years out of date. So I've sent a request to Social Security, asking them for the forms. Taking full responsibility, just as if it were all my fault.
Which it wasn't. Except.
Except I probably should have realized that the accountant wouldn't think of it. The accountant had to file a mountain of paper just to get the government to let him close the books on the company. There's a certain procedure that you go through, and it doesn't include filing W-2s, because it's assumed that the bookkeeper did it as soon as the last payroll was recorded. The last payroll was in January, but the company wasn't shut down until December. The bookkeeper (that would be me) didn't know that they were closing the company, and he (I) didn't have anything to do with the actual closing. I'd filed W-2s every other year the company was in operation, but didn't think to do it for the last year.
So that's how something that was taken completely out of my hands turns out to be my fault. I'm not paying any fines or penalties or interest or late charges or fees or assessments, though. Count on that.