My birthday is June 26, 1973. I know. I was there. That’s also what my mom told me, and she swears that she was there, too.
This has previously never caused a problem for me. Oh, sure, it’s right in the middle of the summer, sandwiched between several other family members’ birthdays. And I never got to have a party in school – birthday skip day and all that. But all in all I like my birthday. I’m actually quite fond of it.
This year I filed my taxes with TurboTax. I used their service last year and had no problems. It’s quick and painless – even on a 56k modem on April 15th.
They handle all the little details to which I hate to pay attention. They ask all the questions that I would just blithely skip and miss much-needed deductions: “Did I install solar heating last year? Did I adopt a child? Did I use my truck to do business on an Indian reservation?” Stuff like that. They even let me file my State of California return, which is only slightly less complicated than particle physics.
It costs forty bucks or so, but it’s well worth the elimination of aggravation and paperwork. I’m hoping that by next year the IRS will completely cave to Microsoft and let me just upload my Money data and be done with it.
A few days after you file, TurboTax sends you an eMail so you can verify that everything was hunky-dory with Uncle Sam and … er … Aunt California. When I visited the page that last year said, “Great! Thanks! Everything went smoothly! Say no more …” I was greeted with a very confusing error. Apparently I entered my birthday incorrectly when I did my taxes.
“eGads!” I thought. It was probably a typo. I must’ve hit 1793 instead of 1973. Or maybe I entered just two digits, like a pre-millennial goof. But when I went through the process of checking all my information, I saw that I had, in fact, entered my birthday just the way they had asked for it. oh-six-two-six-nineteen-seventy-three. Strange.
There was a helpful message saying that the Social Security Administration said that the birth date I had entered didn’t match what they had on file for my Social Security Number. Now, me, I’m thinking that there was probably some bug in the TurboTax system transfer, but I figure I’ll humor them.
I called the Social Security HQ (1-800-772-1213, option 4, option 0, option 2) and spoke with a very nice lady that told me that my birthday is June 23, 1973. <pause> … furrowed brow … <pause> … confused look at telephone … <pause> … “Well … really, see … I was there. My mom was, too. I’m pretty darn sure it was the 26th.” The nice lady explained to me that although this has never been a problem in the previous … oh … 13 times that I filed an income tax return, this is the first time that the IRS and the Social Security Administration are talking to each other about the data on returns. (I assume it has something to do with beefed-up post-911 security. I’m sure terrorists file, right?) “Your birthday has been June 23, 1973 since 1979,” she told me. Funny, that.
So today I have to trudge to the Social Security building and show them my birth certificate, passport, and driver’s license to prove to them that I was born on the 26th. This makes little sense to me. Does it strike anyone else as odd that these other government-issued documents are what I need to prove to the government that they have an error in my file?