In November, defense attorney James Howarth received a letter from the IRS stating that he owes them 5 cents. The letter goes on to say that payment is due immediately, otherwise penalties and interest would accrue.
Shortly after, he received another letter stating that he was owed 4 cents and that, since the owed amount was below one dollar, Mr. Howarth would have to make a request in order to receive his refund.
Howarth gave up on contacting the IRS due to being placed on hold for excessive amounts of time. "When I owe them a nickel, I must pay them. It's not optional," he said. "But when they owe me, I have to ask for it."
IRS officials refuse to comment.