What the Polar Bear can Teach us about the IRS

Today is International Polar Bear Day. In its honor, we are ruminating on how a polar bear is like the IRS.

First, there are a lot of myths about polar bears.

Similarly, many people have misconceptions about the IRS.

The biggest myth about polar bears is that they hibernate. Actually, only the pregnant ones do. Black and brown bears curl up for a long winter’s nap, but the polar bear has no need. Their unique genetic makeup keeps them warm in the artic all year long.

The IRS doesn’t hibernate either.

Taxes aren’t a once a year concern. Just ask any business owner who pays payroll taxes and/or self-employment tax. The IRS reviews returns and sends out notices all year on delinquent taxes, for example. They also have to prepare each year for tax season, update its website and many other tasks.

A polar bear also has a very specific way it asks for something. So does the IRS.

For example, if a polar bear wants food.  It will circle a carcass it wants for food slowly. Then it will touch a feeding bear’s nose, asking for permission to proceed.

The IRS is no less formal in its approach to you. They won’t be calling you or emailing you. The IRS’s initial contact is by mail – always.

So that call you are getting demanding immediate payment for a debt you didn’t know you owed? Hang up! It’s a scam.

Mama polar bears are gentle with their offspring. There’s no spanking or clawing when baby bear makes a mistake. She simple scolds baby bear with a soft cuff (no razor-sharp nails) or a low growl. This is different from the deep growl an adult who is threatening might get.

Similarly, the IRS doesn’t threaten you with serious harm (or jail time) the minute you have an issue. There is plenty of communication and warning of problems. They also offer ways to help taxpayers that are in need of help.

Now, if you intentionally ignore those warnings and notices, it can get serious. When threatened, a polar bear will work its way from a deep growl to attack mode. The IRS has taken people to tax court – and delinquent or fraudulent taxes and tax returns do have consequences.

The bottom line is that, as cute and cuddly as a polar bear may seem, you still need to pay attention to the signs. In the same way, if you get a notice from the IRS, don’t ignore it. At SFS, we can help you navigate through the process of clearing your issues. You can set an appointment with us now online. 


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