Archive for the ‘Vet’ Category

Service of Slipping Through Cracks the Size of the Grand Canyon: I.R.S. Asleep at the Switch

Tuesday, July 5th, 2022


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I overdo it by flagging receipts that indicate charitable donations or medical bills throughout the year to help with tax prep and in the event I get a dreaded I.R.S. notification that I’m being audited. It has happened to several friends of modest means and standard sources of income. The I.R.S., which claims it doesn’t have the staff to catch scofflaws, seems to waste time on microscopic fries while letting master cheaters they have been alerted to fly free.

David A. Fahrenthold, Troy Closson and Julie Tate reported on a flagrant example in their article “76 Fake Charities Shared a Mailbox. The I.R.S. Approved Them All.

The American Cancer Society alerted the IRS to one fake–American Cancer Society of Michigan headquartered in a Staten Island PO Box–run by Ian Hosang, previously convicted for stock market fraud and barred from the industry in 1997. Hosang next launched another scam–the United Way of Ohio at the same “headquarters.” The reporters wrote that the “long-running charity fraud that has astounded nonprofit regulators and watchdogs — [and] raised concerns about the I.R.S.’s ability to serve as gatekeeper for the American charity system.” Hosang had also warmed his heels in jail for two years for fraud and money laundering.

According to the reporters, the I.R.S. approved all but one in 2,400 applications from potential charities. “The agency declined to answer questions about Mr. Hosang’s case, citing taxpayer privacy laws. It also declined to make officials available for in-person interviews, but it released a written statement saying that the fast-track approval system ‘continues to reduce taxpayer burden and increase cost effectiveness of I.R.S. operations.'”


Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Hosang, who said he was filled with remorse, asked the reporters “’If you file something with an agency and they approve it, do you think it’s illegal?”

In addition to the faux American Cancer Society of Michigan, he created them for Detroit, Green Bay, Cleveland and for Children to name a few–17 in this disease group alone. The real American Cancer Society launched local and national initiatives with a lawyer to alert the I.R.S. “American Cancer Society officials said they never heard back from the I.R.S.”

“The first problem,” wrote the reporters, “according to former I.R.S. officials: Tax law does not prohibit nonprofits from impersonating better-known nonprofits by using sound-alike names. The second: There are no systematic checks for a history of fraud.” They quote a former employee who admitted you could apply for tax-free status from jail.

They reported: “One 2019 study by the agency’s taxpayer advocate found that 46 percent of the applicants it approved were not actually qualified, usually because their charters did not conform to charity law. It also noted that the ‘mission statements’ were often so vague as to be useless. In 2021, federal records show, the I.R.S. approved groups whose mission statements were, in their entirety, ‘CHARITABLE ACTIVITY,’ ‘NON-PROFIT’ and ‘Need to fill in’ (possibly a forgotten note to self).”

There’s more but you get the gist.

Shouldn’t a simple search of prison records be part of a fast-track I.R.S. charity approval system? Given the lax approach to this aspect of the I.R.S.’s responsibility, do you think Joe and Jane Citizen are also pretty safe from scrutiny?

Service of I Love All Creatures Great and Small

Monday, January 31st, 2022

I fully expected not to like the remake of the PBS series “All Creatures Great and Small,” because I so loved the original that I saw in the late 1970s. But I love it! And I’m thrilled that we can expect to enjoy seasons three and four.

In the day I’d also read the books, written by veterinarian James Alfred Wight under the pseudonym James Herriot. The first in a series of eight was “If Only They Could Talk,” published in 1970. “All Creatures” was a compilation of a few titles for the American market. The series has sold over 60 million copies.

“All Creatures” takes place in the Yorkshire Dales from the 1930s Depression to the 1950s. The actor Rachel Shenton, who plays Helen Alderson,  James’s love interest, [and wife eventually], is natural and understated, pictured in oversize overalls pitching hay and mucking around her family farm. No glamour girl here. Her straight arrow, clean, no artifice persona is representative of the show and what’s so appealing about it, the other characters, the sets, countryside and animals.

Rachel Shenton as Helen Alderson

Harriet Sherwood, arts and culture correspondent for the guardian.com wrote: “American viewers are enthralled by its bucolic setting, the small, everyday dramas and its old-fashioned sense of community. And, of course, the animals.” She wrote that the series “has become a surprising hit in the home of fast-paced thrillers and warring dynasties.” Like other British shows like Downton Abbey and Bake-Off it has “shown US audiences that sex, violence, celebrities and swearing are not essential to success,” wrote Sherwood.

The actor who plays Siegfried Farnon, Samuel West, said in a podcast, “It’s strangely revolutionary to be making a series about people trying to be kind to each other.” Executive producer Colin Callendar told Sherwood “A combination of the pandemic and the very uncivil society that we live in the US has meant the simple values of community, friendship and kindness have got lost in a very ugly political debate. The show serves as a relief from the stresses and strains that people are feeling right now.” It covers human frailties and flaws that exist in every decade and in most societies.

Guardian reporter Mark Lawson, who writes about television, said: “It goes back at least to the 1960s. British viewers who find British television too cosy have craved the edge of American television, and American viewers who find American television too edgy have craved the cosiness of British TV.”

Dice and slice the reasons I and others like it as much as you want: It’s a joy to look forward to watching the program on PBS at 9 PM eastern on Sunday night. What are some of your favorite series regardless of subject and country of origin?

Callum Woodhouse as Tristan Farnan, left, and Nicholas Ralph as James Herriot


Service of When to Charge

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Wait a Minute Doc!

A friend had a very bad reaction to an injection so she returned to the doctor’s office. Her arm hurt so badly she couldn’t lift it, she felt weak and dizzy and ended up missing two days of work.

She learned that she was to have this inoculation once every five years and she just had one last year.

There’s a hefty co-pay on her insurance plan so when a bill for $92 came for the second visit, she called the doctor’s office to say she didn’t plan to pay it. She explained that had it not been for the office’s mistake—nobody had checked her chart before calling her to come in for the shot and at the time she didn’t know that this was not a yearly precaution like a flu shot—she wouldn’t have had to come back to check out the side effects.

The takeaway: It’s up to you now. Before getting an innoculation, check online or with someone to confirm it’s an annual event.

Arf, Meow

Another friend took her pet to the vet and part of the checkup was extensive [expensive] blood work. She got the results and one was missing though she’d been charged and had paid for it. She had to go back with her pet and hoped that she wouldn’t get another bill for the doctor’s time. I can’t imagine she would. [Patients are never reimbursed for their time.]

The takeaway: Don’t just read the top line when reviewing blood test results. Make sure you see the results for each test you paid for.

Juicy Fruit

I stop by a street fruit and vegetable vendor on my way home from work at least three times a week. The quality is tops, the prices low to rock bottom and inevitably, when I buy a few things—four oranges, tiny sweet tomatoes in an attractive display, a couple of boxes of blueberries for example—he always knocks down the total by a few dollars. I ask for two potatoes and there are four, no extra charge. It’s quite fun to buy from him as I never know what the surprise will be.

The takeaway: If you are lucky, you find a vendor like this.

Do you have examples of when you’ve felt inappropriately charged or when a person has given you a welcome if undeserved price break?

 

 

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