- Personal Finance
How To Deal With The State Tax Department When They Want More Money You Don't Owe
Watch Out- State Tax Boards Are Out For Money
It has came to my attention that many states are out for money, namely they are dusting off their books trying to get more money out of their citizens. This wouldn't be a problem, however they are wanting money that you don't actually owe!
Recently my mother got a letter in the mail from the West Virginia Tax Board saying that she owed over five thousands in back taxes. Apparently they lost her taxes from six years ago and they said she hadn’t paid any taxes for that year. The fact that she has paid over 35% taxes and she works for a governmental contract that certainly pulls her taxes out. For reasons I have fussed at her about she did not have her W-2 for that year (2006) and the trouble began.
So my mother worked for a different company at the time, same job, but different company that did not find the need to help her with her getting a copy of her W-2, go figure huh. Next she tried to call the West Virginia Tax agency and they insisted that they didn’t have any copies either. You can only pull up to three years back from the IRS online, and must send in for anything after that. The IRS is full of red tape and they sent back her request twice, once for a small word that was whited out and the other time for not adding the word street to her address.
Needless to say they sent her a letter saying they would then put a lien on her property if she did not pay her tax bill, 1700 in actually owed taxes, 900 or so in fines and another two grand in interest. My mother does not take this stuff well and she was ready to pay it because as a government employee, she could actually lose her job for this type of fraud.
So since I had recently taken a tax class, I knew that I should give them a call and she what was going on. Before that though, I went and filled out a petition for the tax payment just in case I couldn’t it handled in the time period allotted, because the last thing I wanted was for her to lose 5 grand in savings for a bill she obviously didn’t owe.
So the first time I called, I tried to get some information which was not very forthcoming. I asked how they figured her tax debt and they replied that they knew how much she made. So of course I asked, “Well don’t you know how much you were paid?” They told me they did not and I ended the conversation. Going back through my tax books, I remembered that ALL businesses have to keep 7 years worth of accounting files and of course, payments made through her would obviously be one of them. So with this information I called again, a couple days later they finally called back and I asked where their records were. Since I knew that she always paid enough taxes, furthermore if they had the information, why in the world did they not merely look it up to see that she was actually was owed a refund. After a little stern talk, I was able to get them to look in their warehouse where miraculously they found the information. Of course she does not owe taxes, and since it has been so long, she is not able to get her refund, yet they still want her to file her 2006 taxes, which she had done years before but West Virginia lost it.
To me, this seems like a state who is unable to pay their budget and they are targeting older people to try and use scare tactics to get more money from. If not, the system is poorly set up that they can look up how much a tax payer makes and yet not what the tax payer paid. When I went to the Post Office to get the petition mailed and registered for well my records, I noticed a fairly large stack of registered mail from the State Tax Department, so I wonder how many people will be charged and threatened to pay money they do not owe.
Morale of the story is this..
1. For goodness sake, keep a paper copy of your W-2s for at least 7 years, period
2. Know your rights and don’t get intimidated by the government, if you know you don’t owe money, don’t pay it.
3. They (Tax Department) have to keep a copy for 7 years, so get your company’s federal I.D. number and MAKE them get it out of their records.