So we won’t look for hell freezing over now that the IRS has broken the ice with the American taxpaying populace by saying they’ll go easier on people who can’t afford to pay their federal taxes this year. No word on whether our state tax system will do the same, but hearing that from IRS is equivalent to a profound governmental overhaul happening. Too bad it has to happen only when the IRS realizes they won’t get money out of people, en masse. Not that the change in heart is all that profound when we’re reminded the only sympathy here will be not putting you through the ringer if you miss just one time payment on getting your taxes paid. Of course, you might just see some out there rightfully ask for even more leniency when they miss two or three payments.
What to do then? Well, it wouldn’t surprise me if the IRS took the sympathy even further and told everybody who missed the second or third payment that they won’t get a slap on the wrist…until missing a fifth payment. The IRS swears, though, they’ll stay within a rigid set of rules as much as possible and seem to be, in reality, setting up a sense of psychological well-being that might incite people to feel less afraid about paying through the nose for taxes.
Conversely, with the serious cries of many people needing more leniency than what the IRS is offering, will we see things revised along the way and other governmental agencies or companies providing leniency programs to those affected the worst?
While it’s truly history in the making that the IRS would even announce leniency to anyone with a pulse, what about those who can’t handle their above-mentioned state taxes? Would your home state find it in their heart to follow the path of the IRS and allow people who can’t pay them all at once more lenient payment plans? The thought might be that if those suffering financially can get slight breaks from not being able to handle their taxes, just about every other institution should or will follow suit.
Certainly the IRS setting the path toward that is a huge catalyst. Nevertheless, anybody who’s ever had the experience of not being able to pay their utility bills on time would know that every bill outside of the IRS is easily negotiable, including medical bills. A pattern of preventing trouble when someone misses a time payment is where the focus will inevitably be once things start getting worse economically in this country. When all of your utility companies, the cable company or garbage service starts excusing a missed payment, you know things could get out of control–particularly those with the potential gall to take advantage of the situation.
We should never discount Americans as a whole in taking advantage of the system. Sure, the categorizations still exist in poor Americans trying to cheat the system by continuing to get unemployment benefits when they have the aptitude to find a job. No one is going to argue with people needing unemployment benefits through 2009, though. But there could be potential deadbeats out there who’d play up sympathies in not being able to pay a bill when they have the means. Chances are, even now, if you called your state’s energy utility and told them you couldn’t pay your bill when you really could, they’d probably set up a very reasonable payment plan or tell you to put whatever you can onto the monthly bill without batting an eye. It’s always been that way through most of the basic services we all use.
To build on that, energy companies, especially (as they continue to soar in increased rates), will have to follow the lead of the IRS and allow people to miss one or two payments without getting shut-off notices. How they’ll manage to determine the legitimately cash-strapped from those taking advantage of a crumbled economy will likely create as much chaos as the economy has and will. Then again, a chance of someone taking advantage of the situation seems lessened when every bill-paying citizen will eventually be in the running for not being able to pay one of their basic bills.
Yep, when the banks potentially start failing left and right, allowing multiple missed payments may be a tall order, yet necessary in order to keep things working in America.
Anybody in the meantime who fears not being able to make a bill payment on time should be aware anyway that most companies are extremely nice about it, no matter the state of the economy. You’ll also get employees on the phone likely in the same boat with you and will be as understanding as your own family would be. It makes suffering through a bleak economy all the easier when you know everybody else is there with you while being worked out in a calm way.
You can bank on it, though, that we’ll be seeing the art of negotiation in bill payments like never before in the history of the United States, perhaps for the next several years. Just as credit card companies do now in getting their customers to pay them at least some money owed when many people can’t make their monthly credit card bills (something that’ll soon change with lower interest rate requirements), most of the companies who provide services for us are just as scared now as the customers trying to pay the bill. Creating a domino effect like that is the stuff that economic nightmares are made of, even if some people would find plenty of glee seeing their energy company feeling squeezed.
To show the best of America, most people finding it tough to pay their bills will gladly deal in those negotiations offered by the companies demanding a payment. Through joint cooperation, and no matter how bad it gets, even a monthly time payment of a few dollars a month wouldn’t break the customer…plus keep the business in the black if every customer did the same.
Yes, we all need a symbiotic relationship during the worst possible economic times while spreading the minute wealth and expansive generosity around…