The average American has $16k in debt, down from $35k in 2008. The ability to borrow money is important in all economies, but borrowing more than you can pay causes all kinds of problems (as the various debt crises around the world expose). How much debt is ok? How much debt is too much? How do you decide for yourself when its warranted to go into debt to achieve something? What’s a story you can share about borrowing something, perhaps money or time, from someone else?
Well, I am going to flip this one on it’s head tonight. As usual, I find the day’s blog topic oddly coincidental with happenings in my daily experience…
So I got a letter from my ex-CPA today (talk about a complex relationship) and he has offered to help me get some IRS information, on myself – but in doing so, he claims to require me to sign over to him, power of attorney. Thing is, the last time I signed over power of attorney to someone, it was to my bookkeeper, and she then used that license to steal untold thousands of dollars from my company, and ultimatly from myself personally.
Though this was not directly my CPA’s doing, it was, in my opinion, his job to be vigilant for such activities. We knew we were “hemorrhaging funds” from the business accounts – and though it was the order of the day to blame that on me, for paying my employees too highly, it was in fact due to the bookkeeper creating a fictitious employee, through which she was able to pay herself extra monies, as she saw fit.
She was also misdirecting tax payment funds to herself, and possibly to the business’ previous owners’, by way of paying their outstanding IRS debts, with our profits. So perhaps you can see why I am a bit leery of this preactice of releasing power of attorney to another.
Two points worth noting here, so you don’t think I am just being a push over idiot; 1. There is no justice – since our bookkeeper never became a certified public accountant (CPA) herself, she is not privy to more strenuous legal ramifications. In fact, the theft she committed against myself, my business partners, and a significant amount of other Reno small business owners – is considered “white collar crime” and on the D.A.’s list of priorities, it falls somewhere between the prosecution of j-walking and selling a joint to a minor… To expound one bit further, when our restaurant was burglarized for several thousand dollars of cash profits, twice – and the perp was caught on tape and identified by several people – and then when he was questioned in his home, a bright plaid jacket, that was clearly visible in the tape of the burglary, was seen in his living room – it did count count as sufficient evidence (too common an article of clothing). Essentially, since no one got shot, Reno PD couldn’t be bothered to give a fuck about the case – nor does the IRS give a fuck that those few thousand dollars may very well have kept us just above water, so that we would not have fallen so far behind on our payments (even with the thieving bookie) which then snowballed entirely out of control thanks to the IRS’ astronomically high interest rates…
& 2. Like I said earlier, though I recognize that these were not directly the doings of the CPA (different guy from the bookie altogether), it was, more or less his job to be on the lookout for such activities…the fact that he was remiss to do so implies either; incompetence, or, collusion. Especially since at a year or two in – I had voiced a desire to get rid of the bookie, and the CPA advised strongly against doing so (?).
OK – so I really don’t expect that anyone is still reading this shit – it’s just for my own sense of catharsis at this point… We owed all these taxes, after the variety of thefts, the loss of a business partner (as in, he unexpectedly died on us), and shitty winter revenues. The taxes went unpaid for long enough (we just didn’t have the money, no – really) that it went to the Trust Fund Recovery Act, as such things do. This means that my main business partner and I are being held personally responsible for these monies (between half to a third of the full amount outstanding – somewhere between 20 & 30 large).
Between then and now, years have passed, and in an effort to show good faith and cover my ass, I have set up a payment program where I pay $135, each month, to the IRS, out of pocket – to repay the money that was, in fact stolen from me.
To tie it back in to the topic, and let me add here that I personally only owe half or so of the 20-30 K … I think that that is too much debt, especially if you never got to spend, see, burn, or otherwise enjoy the cash…
But now I get this email from the CPA, and he wants me to sign over Power of Attorney to him, to asses the exact amount of the Trust Fund debt still owed. There is no reason he should not be able to get this information from my other business partner being held responsible, & (again) – the last time I signed my Power of Attorney over to someone, it was to the bookie, who used it, while dealing with the IRS, to siphon off our profits!
So that he is making this request of me now seems sketchy as fuck, from where I’m sitting.
So in closing, I would like to conclude that when dealing with debts – take a look at the ramifications that it has on thine soul. Spend it, steal it, whatever – I just don’t give a fuck anymore – but take a second to check in with yourself and see if the sentence in hell you are setting yourself up for is worth the splurge.
When you live beyond your own means, who is it that you are harming? If it is just yourself – go crazy, you have my blessing – but if you are taking out others, just because you can – then you are a sun-bleached Keystone Light beer can, at the bottom of a lake, growing slimy algae… you are of no use, you are unsightly, slimy, and smell bad – you are reminiscent of the offal of white trash who have no respect for real beer, or anything else that is good or right in this universe, and you ought to be recycled.