Refunds Being Withheld

Have you ever received a letter from your state government indicating  that you will not be receiving your refund after efiling for this year? It’s one of the most frustrating things to deal with. First, you’re curious what you did wrong this time. Second, you’re upset because you were relying on the refund coming in by a certain point. Finally, you’re not anticipating spending hours on the phone pleading your case and being put on hold with the  State Tax Office.

Refund Withheld Without an Explanation

This is what happened to me. I came home one day from work and noticed a letter in my mailbox that had the DC Tax Office return address on the top and in the main letterhead it had the words: Office of Abuse and Policy. My gut inclination was like, oh shoot what did I do this time. I opened the letter to find that I had offset my tax return to DC in the exact amount of my refund and was provided with no explanation. The only words of solace on the form were if you think this has been done incorrectly, please mail all documentation to the following address. There was also a phone number to clarify more information on your case.

I immediately started googling the internet to see if anyone else had posted about their DC tax being offset in the exact amount of their refund and found nothing. I decided that I would call the number that was provided to me and all I got was a recorded response telling me “All lines are currently busy. Please call back later!” I was livid.

Called Mayor’s Office

I wasn’t getting anywhere with the Customer Service hotline and writing a written response to a PO Box could take weeks to receive a response  I decided that my solution would be to call the Mayor’s office in DC and have them directly transfer me to someone who could help. When someone picked up, I got very excited and even though I was upset from this whole story, I politely explained my case and was immediately transferred to a Senior Tax Auditor in DC.

He explained to me that in 2009, the DC tax office had accidentally charged me for state taxes that I had paid in a different state and asked me to provide him with my return from the previous tax year where this had taken place. I confirmed that I would email them to him as soon as I got my hands on my W2 from 2009.

Final Thoughts

  1. Always keep your W2’s  from previous years.
  2. For immediate assistance with state governments, work your way down, not up!
  3.  Be polite to tax auditors once you have their assistance. They will return the courtesy you extend to them!

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4 Responses

  1. I keep all tax returns from the past five years for the reasons that you listed above. I hope everything went well for you. Bureaucracy stinks.

    1. Justin thanks for commenting. I completely agree. They claimed that I lived in the district when I clearly didn’t. I have not heard back yet but I appreciate the support.

  2. Wow! That takes taxation without representation to a whole new level! 🙂 Hope it works out for you!

    I know many states have just unilaterally decided not to allow carryback from prior year losses any more, like the Feds do. Makes you wonder how long it will take the current administration to do that on a national level.

    1. I have heard the same. I actually got a confirmation email this morning confirming that this matter is closed. You’d think that the capital of the free world knows how to tax fairly without making mistakes… 😉

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