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View Full Version : Is Good Help That Hard to Find?



Jim Koepke
04-17-2018, 8:48 PM
We filed our taxes over a month ago. It is something we try to get done as soon as we get all the paperwork.

Last year we sold our old home in California. We also use a tax preparation service with audit insurance. This helped this year as we owed California some money. The taxes were filed electronically and a check was sent with a voucher. A few weeks later we received a notice from California that we owed them money to the tune of $15 more than the check we sent with no indication that they had received the check.

Opening up my banking information shows there is a record of the canceled check. We printed a copy and made an appointment with our tax person. She looked at the paperwork while my time was spent at the hardware store next door. After a few minutes my wife came looking for me saying Heidi found the error the California Franchise Tax Board had made to the tune of $15. This information was copied to us and also sent to the CFTB.

So yesterday while out getting the mail there is an envelope from the State Controller of California Disbursements Bureau. Inside was a check for $541 with the only explanation being, "State Income Tax Refund." Because of other income from the state of California there is some withholding. This year we owed them money for the first time since the early 1970s before California had regular withholding.

So today our tax prep person was called and asked about this odd development and what should we do. She looked through our file and said there is nothing in there tied to that amount.

If you have ever tried calling the CFTB it is like the automated phone tree machine from HE double hockey sticks. (my father was from Canada)

Heidi said cash it and take the wife out to dinner.

My expectation is to get a letter from them asking if we would kindly send back the check they sent in error.

When a cashier gives back too much change, some of them will get defensive until you explain you do not want them to come up short at the end of the day. Somehow this seems like it is going to be more difficult with a whole state bureaucracy.

Anyone else have an idea of how to handle something like this?

jtk

Frederick Skelly
04-17-2018, 9:01 PM
If it were me, I'd earmark it, put it in the bank and wait for the letter.

Mike Henderson
04-17-2018, 9:09 PM
If it were me, I'd earmark it, put it in the bank and wait for the letter.

Yep, I'd do the same. If I spent it, I'd make sure I have that much money available to give them when they come calling for it.

Mike

Yonak Hawkins
04-17-2018, 9:40 PM
If it were me, I'd earmark it, put it in the bank and wait for the letter.


What's the other option ?

George Bokros
04-17-2018, 10:10 PM
If it were me, I'd earmark it, put it in the bank and wait for the letter.

Ditto for me.

Mike Cary
04-17-2018, 11:23 PM
Could be withholding from an undocumented immigrant using your SSN. In any case, itís usually safe to spend it.

Chase Mueller
04-18-2018, 8:31 AM
They get enough of our money, in the words of Azis Ansari "Treat yo self!" (or better yet, your wife)

Matt Schroeder
04-18-2018, 11:35 AM
If you believe they made an error and you are not owed that money, I would be worried about them coming back later for that plus interest and/or penalties if it was cashed. Might it be better to write "VOID" all over it and send it back with an explanation? It might seem like a windfall right now, but if it isn't yours I believe it will catch up with you eventually.

There is a scam going around where people use your info to file a return indicating a refund that comes to you (or your bank account). The scam artist then contacts you acting as the taxing authority saying, "We goofed, please return the money to us at...". Perhaps this check is the opening move in a ruse such as that.

If you don't routinely do it, I would be checking credit reports for indications of other nefarious uses of your identity, just in case your SS number or bank information has been compromised.

Matt

Marshall Harrison
04-18-2018, 2:24 PM
I wouldn't send it back Neither would I spend it any time soon.

I would put it in the bank and let it draw interest. And I would make the State of California come asking for it.

Bruce Wrenn
04-18-2018, 9:27 PM
I would attach it to the copy of taxes for which was generated. A cousin started receiving SS benefits, even though he was working full time. Every time he would send a check back, SS would generate a duplicate and send it to him. Finally upon CPA's advice he opened a "trust account" and deposited all the checks till SS figured out their mistake. All checks were marked, "for deposit only, with account # ." They wanted not only the money, interest and penalties, plus threatened him with fraud charges. He showed that he had not cashed any of them, only deposited them into a trust account for the SS administration, with him being the trustee. PS does this qualify as a political thread, as the governing body has been mentioned several times?

Chuck Wintle
04-19-2018, 10:49 AM
We filed our taxes over a month ago. It is something we try to get done as soon as we get all the paperwork.

Last year we sold our old home in California. We also use a tax preparation service with audit insurance. This helped this year as we owed California some money. The taxes were filed electronically and a check was sent with a voucher. A few weeks later we received a notice from California that we owed them money to the tune of $15 more than the check we sent with no indication that they had received the check.

Opening up my banking information shows there is a record of the canceled check. We printed a copy and made an appointment with our tax person. She looked at the paperwork while my time was spent at the hardware store next door. After a few minutes my wife came looking for me saying Heidi found the error the California Franchise Tax Board had made to the tune of $15. This information was copied to us and also sent to the CFTB.

So yesterday while out getting the mail there is an envelope from the State Controller of California Disbursements Bureau. Inside was a check for $541 with the only explanation being, "State Income Tax Refund." Because of other income from the state of California there is some withholding. This year we owed them money for the first time since the early 1970s before California had regular withholding.

So today our tax prep person was called and asked about this odd development and what should we do. She looked through our file and said there is nothing in there tied to that amount.

If you have ever tried calling the CFTB it is like the automated phone tree machine from HE double hockey sticks. (my father was from Canada)

Heidi said cash it and take the wife out to dinner.

My expectation is to get a letter from them asking if we would kindly send back the check they sent in error.

When a cashier gives back too much change, some of them will get defensive until you explain you do not want them to come up short at the end of the day. Somehow this seems like it is going to be more difficult with a whole state bureaucracy.

Anyone else have an idea of how to handle something like this?

jtk
I would say good help is very hard to find and is quite a rare find within the government bureaucracy as the incompetent and lazy are shielded by all kinds of laws.

Jim Koepke
04-19-2018, 8:49 PM
This issue was resolved today, at least enough to satisfy me.

Some folks on another forum suggested contacting the California Franchise Tax Board to get this cleared up. After explaining my experience with their recorded menu tree from the depths of a fiery place below they suggested a different contact number. This had a similar Menu system with torturous choices rivaling those of the Marquis de Sade.

It finally gave me the option to speak to a representative. Then it informed me the wait would be about an hour and twenty minutes. Then it gave me a choice of having them call me back when it was my turn.

We were about to leave when the phone rang on the call back. The rep on the line listened to my story and then put me on hold. This is when speaker phone is my friend.

He came back and told me the tax prep person forgot to include some withholding from one of my accounts.

There was ~$9 difference still, but that doesn't bother me. The CFTB rep said the money is mine.

jtk

Bill Orbine
04-19-2018, 9:04 PM
We filed our taxes over a month ago. It is something we try to get done as soon as we get all the paperwork.

Last year we sold our old home in California. We also use a tax preparation service with audit insurance. This helped this year as we owed California some money. The taxes were filed electronically and a check was sent with a voucher. A few weeks later we received a notice from California that we owed them money to the tune of $15 more than the check we sent with no indication that they had received the check.

Opening up my banking information shows there is a record of the canceled check. We printed a copy and made an appointment with our tax person. She looked at the paperwork while my time was spent at the hardware store next door. After a few minutes my wife came looking for me saying Heidi found the error the California Franchise Tax Board had made to the tune of $15. This information was copied to us and also sent to the CFTB.

So yesterday while out getting the mail there is an envelope from the State Controller of California Disbursements Bureau. Inside was a check for $541 with the only explanation being, "State Income Tax Refund." Because of other income from the state of California there is some withholding. This year we owed them money for the first time since the early 1970s before California had regular withholding.

So today our tax prep person was called and asked about this odd development and what should we do. She looked through our file and said there is nothing in there tied to that amount.

If you have ever tried calling the CFTB it is like the automated phone tree machine from HE double hockey sticks. (my father was from Canada)

Heidi said cash it and take the wife out to dinner.

My expectation is to get a letter from them asking if we would kindly send back the check they sent in error.

When a cashier gives back too much change, some of them will get defensive until you explain you do not want them to come up short at the end of the day. Somehow this seems like it is going to be more difficult with a whole state bureaucracy.

Anyone else have an idea of how to handle something like this?

jtk

Good you got that cleared up...sort of! Before that, I was gonna say don't cash that check. Just hold on to it. That way, the goverment still has that money in their accounts....in theory, no interests or penalties should they come back at ya!