Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Check Your Math!

So, Friday morning, just as I was getting up, the mail arrived.  It turned out to be statements for a couple of bills that I had already paid, an offer from a magazine that I used to subscribe to, an offer for car insurance, and something from the agency that collects my local taxes.

I figured that the agency was sending me some sort of form that I would use to fill out my 2007 return.  Wrong!

Turns out, this agency (and, if you live in NEPA, you probably know which agency it is) sent me a form notifying me that they had done an audit on my earned income taxes and had discovered that I owed them in excess of $1,200!  Out of the goodness of their hearts, they would allow me to pay in three monthly installments of more than $400 each.

Since I'd only been awake for about five minutes, my mind was working a little slowly.  I recalled filling out the local earned income tax forms over the past few years.  I think I ended up owing a little bit last year (which I paid), so I was pretty sure this delinqency notice was a mistake.

About a minute later, I knew for sure it was a mistake when I saw the year that this alleged audit covered - 2003!  2003 was the year that I moved back to the area from Harrisburg - in November!  There's no way that I could possibly owe anywhere near what they said for approximately five weeks of work.

Now that I had been up for about 10 minutes and was now fully alert, I gathered the appropriate W-2 form from my files and called the agency.  After two transfers, I was connected to the appropriate person.  She said did I live at (my current address)?  I said, yes, but I didn't live there in 2003.  In 2003, I lived in York County until I moved back here around Thanksgiving!  So, she said, you got a new job?  Not really, I said, just a different employer.  So, she said, you got two W-2s.  Yes!

At that point, she said that it looked like I had already paid the required EIT, so I should disregard the notice.  I said, "Are you sure?"  She said yes.

I hung up, and promptly wrote the word "DISREGARD" and the date on the form and filed it with my 2003 taxes.  Just in case.

All I have to say is, I thought audits were supposed to expose errors, not create them!  Maybe this agency should audit the auditors before sending out erroneous letters and giving people a rude awakening right before the weekend.

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