SMITH GOODFRIEND, P.S.
Family law is not an oxymoron.
Katare v. Katare, 175 Wn.2d 23 (2012),
cert. denied, 133 S.Ct. 889 (2013).
Parentage of M.F., 168 Wn.2d 528 (2010).
Marriage of Bernard, 165 Wn.2d 895 (2009).
McCausland v. McCausland, 159 Wn.2d 607 (2007).
Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000).
contact Catherine Smith or Valerie Villacin
Washington’s Appellate Law Firm
PIN number there.”
“Didn’t you make up a PIN number
when you submitted her return?” the
now chastising voice asked from some-
where in IRS-land. I flashed back to a
humiliating episode from kindergarten,
decades and decades ago. Or was it the
first year of law school? That same tone
of voice, that same feeling of humilia-
tion, that same sense of not feeling con-
fident that Y really comes after X in the
alphabet or whether 2+ 2= 4.
“Well, no,” I apologized, “but if I’m
supposed to make up my own PIN num-
ber, how about if I make one up now: 1 2
3 4 — okay?”
“Noooooo,” said the still-friendly-
but-now-somewhat-critical voice of The
Service. “You have to make up the PIN
number when you submit the form. You
cannot make one up now.”
“Look,” I explained in my most law-
erly tone of voice, “the PIN number on
the return is blank, right? That is my
PIN number: blank blank blank blank.
“Noooooo, that’s not okay,” said the
“Blank blank blank blank is not a num-
ber. If you do not have a valid PIN num-
ber, then you have to have a power of at-
torney. Do you have a power of attorney
for your mother?”
“Ahh,” I replied. “We’re in business. I
do have a general power of attorney for
“Nooooo,” said the voice as it rapped
my knuckles with a metaphysical tel-
ephonic ruler. “You need a special IRS
power of attorney, a form 58739-983-
only after it’s properly filled out and sub-
mitted will The Service talk to you about
your mother’s tax return.”
Grumbling, I found the form for the
special IRS power of attorney online,
filled it out, drove down to the nursing
home, and had my mother sign it. Fortunately or not, her memory is bad. She
thought she was signing her 2012 tax return and, furthermore, signing it for the
first time. I faxed in the power of attorney.
Two days later, I called the IRS. This
time I spent one hour on hold. I listened
over and over again to the mellifluous
mishmash of Richard Strauss, John
Philip Sousa, and Mantovani’s 100 reverberating violins. I could feel my life
and the non-billable hours ticking away.
Another, equally friendly voice then
took the call.
“Do you have a CAF number?” the
voice asked. “A PIN number?”
“No,” I replied smugly, “but I did fax
in the IRS power of attorney, a form
“One moment, please,” said the
friendly voice, who then put me on hold
again for another 10 minutes with the
hundred cascading violins of Messrs.
Strauss, Sousa, and Mantovani.
The voice came on. “I’m sorry, sir. But
you didn’t fill in one box on the form. You
didn’t fill in your relationship to your
mother, so we still cannot talk to you.”
“My relationship to my mother? I’m her
son. Where was that supposed to go?
There was no box to fill in family relationship.” I started having kindergar-ten/law school 101 flashbacks again.
“On the line where you were supposed to state your title.”
“But I’m my mother’s son. That’s not
a ‘title,’ is it?
“Well, in the very teeny-tiny print