The following is a letter I have written to the Internal Revenue Service — the IRS.

That’s correct. I am writing to them. I am not answering a letter they sent me. I am actually writing a letter directly to this federal agency. But I’m not just taking a shot in the dark by sending it to just anyone in the IRS. No sirree, this letter is going to the boss.

You see, the IRS won’t give me my paltry refund, and I want an explanation.

Follow below.

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To: Charles P. Rettig, Director , IRS

From: Michael McGuire, pretty annoyed taxpayer

Date: July 19, 2020

Subject: Where’s my freakin’ refund

Hi Chuck,

Hey, I hope you don’t mind me calling you “Chuck.” Actually, I don’t care if you mind as I am not feeling particularly sensitive to others’ feelings today. Especially not to your feelings, so if you’re offended by “Chuck” I’ll go with “Chuckie” instead.

I’m sitting at my desk in a small coastal Maine community on a July day that is pretty close to insufferable, due to the humidity. On the other hand, I’m grateful to be living in Maine because our governor actually pays attention to science and, as a result, we are not being overrun with COVID-19 infections like so much of the rest of our country.

Hey, if you ever talk to your boss, Steve Mnuchin, tell him to lean over and whisper to his boss that “you know, it really is about science.” I’ll bet you six Maine lobsters he doesn’t have the guts to do that. You probably don’t either.

Anyway Chuck, I’m writing you today because I’ve kinda had it up to here (top of my head) with being treated so rudely by your agency. You are the top of the food chain at the IRS, so you need to get cracking and find out what’s going on. Get off the darn golf course or sailboat and check in at the office — and put on your mask.

The IRS owes me a little bit more than $500 and I’m getting tired of waiting for it. More tired every day, and it’s gotten to the point where I actually check the IRS website every day, hoping the message will change. It does not.

I consider myself a pretty good U.S. citizen. I was a lot rowdier when I was younger, but I haven’t mellowed that much. Especially when it comes to my taxes! This year — in March — I completed our taxes and was pleased to see we would get a refund. I haven’t seen a federal tax refund since the big tax cut package of about three years ago. Nothing trickled down on me that smelled of my hard-earned money. But what did trickle on me sure smelled like something else.

I actually got pretty excited about the prospect of getting $500. Help kick our local economy into gear! You’re not helping, Chuckie!

So Chuck, I filed electronically. I’m not complicated. 1040 form and one other form to claim a deduction for teacher expenses and college loan interest. You told me filing electronically would cut my wait time in half. Oh yeah!? I filed March 28 and received an email confirming receipt and a second message that you, the IRS, accepted the return for processing.

That was a touch more than 16 weeks ago. Sixteen weeks. That’s one-third of the year! Every day I check in on, I get the same stinking message: “Your return is being processed.” Your agency’s home page has a notice that: We continue to process electronic and paper tax returns, issue refunds, and accept payments. We’re experiencing delays in processing paper tax returns due to limited staffing.

There is no mention of “delays” in processing electronic returns, Chuck. There is also no mention of why the IRS – YOUR agency — has limited staffing. If it’s because of COVID-19, say so. If it’s not, then why? Chuck, your immediate supervisor might be Stevie Mnuchin, but I happen to be one of the people who pays your salary.

In effect, we taxpayers are your next level of “management.” I don’t think it’s very wise to be so delinquent on returning my “excess” taxes to me.

You are paid a base salary of $170,198. For reasons that currently escape me, last year you received a “bonus” of $8,000. That’s $178,198. Your taxpayer paid compensation breaks down to $3,427 a week, not including benefits. I doubt you “work” more than five days a week so your daily gross pay is $685.38. I’m waiting for a stinking $522 that you people have had for 16 weeks longer than to which you are entitled.

I’ve been around long enough to recognize that what’s trickling down on me ain’t no money. But I would very much like to have my $500… now!

What is really pitiful is that if I owed the IRS (a.k.a you and the rest of the federal government) $500 and I didn’t pay it for 16 weeks, the original amount would almost certainly be more than $1,000 thanks to interest and penalties. You are so darn lucky, Chuckie, that taxpayers aren’t allowed to charge the IRS taxes and penalties for late payments.

You know, Chuck, I’ll bet you would do a whole lot better at your job if we could do that.

So, listen. Fix what is broken. If you don’t know what it is, ask for help. Just imagine how ugly things are going to get when honest, hard-working American citizens, along with millions of people hoping to become citizens and who pay taxes, filed their returns by July 15 — the extended deadline due to COVID-19. Based on the current job performance of the IRS, 16 weeks means they will not have their refunds before Election Day in November.

Then again, Chuck, go ahead and just keep up the good work.

Michael McGuire is the former editor of The Courier Gazette and associate publisher of Courier Publications. He lives in Owls Head