April Fools!: IRS wasn't joking when they accidentally billed Denver couple more than $500K

On April Fools' day, folks are a little less inclined to believe the bizarre. Your consummate bachelor friend probably isn't announcing his marriage over Facebook, and Canada most likely didn't apologize for Nickelback, no matter how overdue it may be.

It makes sense, then, that Denver couple Victoria and Tim Berge didn't believe it when they received a bill for more than half-a-million dollars on April 1. But it turned out the IRS demand was no joke. In fact, Victoria, 56, quotes the agency as telling them, "We don't make jokes" -- even on the notorious day of pranking.

"It was shock, and I initially thought it was a big mistake," says Victoria of the $515,929 bill she opened last week. "But it being on April Fools', I thought it must be a joke."

Instead, the bill for a hundred times more than they owed turned out to be a very alarming mistake.

The Berges, who operate a geology consulting firm out of their home, say that although they haven't heard back from the IRS for about a week, the agency is handling the mistake, which pegged their owed taxes at $1.8 million for the first quarter of 2009, instead of the actual $18,000 owed.

The overshot was made with the processing of the couple's 941 tax form, which reports their company's quarterly holdings. What's more, the couple had already paid their owed amount in 2009. Still, they received the inflated bill, which included a year's worth of interest and penalties.

It was the perfect storm for a not-so-funny April Fools' Day. And now, they're only half laughing.

Victoria says she's re-sent the original paperwork. In the meantime, the IRS is holding off on collections.

"The problem is, it was just so outrageous, because that's a just a quarterly wage report," she says. "They thought it was just 1.8 million for wages for a quarter."

Check out the bill below:

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J. David McSwane
Contact: J. David McSwane