- They had my Moroccan address wrong. Though I wrote it down correctly, they had things like "Zangat" instead of "Zanqat"- which might seem pretty minor, but that's the word for street, and so for a Moroccan mail carrier one would be a word and the other gibberish. They also left off part of the neighborhood name and the postal code. Explains why I got no notices from them. It also explains why they didn't get any returned mail, which they expected. Evidently they aren't familiar with the way 3rd world country mailing systems work.
- They had my American address wrong, though that, too was, written correctly on the original form. I lived in apt. 433, not 733. Explains why I got no notices from them in America. I can't explain why the USPS evidently didn't return any mail to the IRS. (Of course, at this point, I'm taking the IRS on their word that they sent out notices and got no returned mail.)
- They had no record of my 2555, the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion form. Without that, there wouldn't be any statement that I lived abroad, and so they would expect taxes to be paid, and wouldn't understand why I listed my salary in parenthesis, as the IRS website says to do when submitting the 2555. Of course, the 2555 was in the same envelope as the 1040.
- They had no record from GWA of Statement of Wages in Lieu of W-2. Without that there would only be my written record on the 1040 of how much I made. Of course, this, also, wa in the same envelope as the 1040.
So we're left with that I sent over everything, and something happened to it. As it stretches the limits of incredulity that the Postal Service, in Morocco or here, lost only part of the package and managed to deliver the rest, or someone nefarious went into my mail and stole out portions of my tax forms, I'm going with the IRS lost part of the forms I sent them. Not that I'll ever get them to admit that, or take responsibility.
A few days later things changed. They suddenly had a record of my W-2 and 2555. A couple weeks later I finally get a straight answer from the IRS- Yes, they received the forms intitially. Now I need to resend them in. Why? The IRS feels I had no right to a Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. Why? No one can tell me. No, they can't let me see a copy of my tax return without my paying them money. No, even if I paid, I won't see a copy of my 2555, because they don't have copies of the insert forms. Oh, yes, they did indeed receive a copy of it, and the person at the IRS who told me they didn't earlier was wrong. No, they don't have to prove it.
They're the IRS.