Makes we wonder

Regarding a letter recently written by Frank Forsha on this subject. I would like to elaborate on my recent experience with our local municipal tax office. I just received a letter about my 2010 return, which, of course, I filed 3 years ago. It stated that my tax obligation for that year and my credits also totaled that same amount. Then it said I owed one amount for interest and another amount for penalty. My thought was, how can I owe interest and penalty on a zero balance when it was all filed and paid timely? I did make all four quarterly payments and at the time I filed my return, I owed a little over $100, which I paid when I filed well before April 15, 2011. I was told that because I owed more than $100 at the time of filing, I must pay interest and penalty.

To that, I said, “then basically, you are saying that the entire amount of our tax obligation must be paid by Jan. 15, as opposed to the April 15 typical tax deadline.” He said no to that question, but reiterated that if you owe more than $100 then you will owe interest and a penalty.

We went round and round about that while he insisted that this is “law,” and I contend that this basically means they want it all paid by Jan. 15th. I did make my quarterly payments and my final payment was minimal compared to my quarterly payments. I finally did pay the interest and penalty for 2010, but this just seems unjust. He did tell me that they changed their “law” in 2012 to include a penalty and interest only if you owed more than $240 at the time of filing. This seems at least more reasonable than $100. As Mr. Forsha asked, where is the logic? Unfair to those of us who are conscientious enough to pay our taxes timely and regularly. On a further note, while speaking with him, I asked when I might find out about my 2011 return and whether I would be assessed a penalty on that one next year?

He replied they have three years to audit and they generally take those 3 years to do so. He was willing to look at my 2011 return while on the phone with me, and it’s a good thing! He said that since I only made three quarterly payments, I would owe the balance plus interest and penalty on that tax year as well. I told him that I never missed a quarterly payment, while he insisted that I did. I learned which payment they did not have on my record, then pulled my old bank statement with the copy of the check in question, and took these up to their office to prove I paid it. I thought that settled it, however, later that day, he left a phone message advising me that he needs the back side of the check as well.

The banks no longer return your cancelled checks and what they send you with your statements only includes the front sides. Thus, I had to go to my bank and ask to retrieve the check in question – thank God they were able to provide this for me. It is settled now, but would have been worse if I had not learned this for yet another year down the road. I still wonder what they did with that check, as they sure did not credit me even though I had my payment slip and SSN with the payment. Makes one wonder!

Jenny Lannan


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom