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.