I know this sounds a little crazy, but my dog barks at IRS agents. Some people think that this is a good thing, but in my business—no. It really puts a damper on the whole “working from home” concept. I figure that I spend a pretty large percentage of my time talking on the phone with IRS agents; I can’t have my dog barking. It’s just unprofessional.
My husband says that I have a special “IRS voice” and the dog recognizes it as me talking to an enemy and reacts accordingly. For the record: I don’t consider IRS agents to be my enemy. Most of the time we’re trying to achieve the same goal: getting my client to pay his fair share of income tax. Where the IRS and I tend to disagree is in the amount of money that would be considered to be a “fair share of income tax,” but overall we’ve got the same goal.
Anyway, the dog barks when I talk to the IRS so she can’t be in the room when I make my phone calls. (Or I just call from my business office—no dogs there.)
But on days that I’m not doing IRS work, I like to work from home. My dog likes to nap in the corner of my home office while I’m on the computer. She’s usually pretty quiet and most of the time I can’t even tell she’s in the room; except for the other day. Nothing unusual, the phone rang and it was a person asking for advice about an audit letter she received. It was a pretty normal, friendly sort of call. I get that type of call all the time and I was just answering questions for a potential client.
But while I was on the phone, my dog woke up and started barking at the phone routine. It was so embarrassing. I couldn’t get her to shut up. I apologized to the caller and explained that she usually only barks at the IRS and I didn’t know what had gotten into her. The woman on the phone paused for a moment and said, “I do work for the IRS.”
So I learned a couple of lessons: First, IRS employees are not exempt from getting audited. And second, my dog is smarter than I thought.