Massachusetts Department of Revenue wtf

I just got this letter from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue saying I owe personal income tax from 2004. Which has been accruing interest since 2004. Which they apparently need from me so badly that they waited three years to say anything.

I checked my copy of my return, and I ended up owing tax in 2004, which I paid. No, the letter doesn't explain which figures from my return they're disputing or anything -- just that I owe them money, plus interest, and I need to pay it by next week. As far as I know, they could be completely pulling this out of their asses. I'm not about to pay taxes that they're not even telling me what they're for.

There's an option for filing an appeal. So I went on the website, downloaded the form, and, um, wtf? The form requires that I list the line items on the tax return that I dispute their assessment of. Well, gee, I'm not sure which line items those would be, since they didn't send a copy of how they calculated that I owe them money. All I suppose I can really do is send them a copy of my tax return showing them the figures I believe to be correct, but isn't that what I did when I filed it in the first place?

Which leads me to another question: are there actually people who would just see this bill and pay it? I mean, I suppose there are a handful of people out there who knowingly left out a 1099 or something and would see the bill and realize it caught up with them, but as far as I know, I filed my taxes correctly. There's no way I'm paying this unless they can actually show me something that I overlooked or entered in two places or whatever it is they think I did.


ericjay said...

Back when I lived in NJ, I remember getting a similar tax bill. The amount due was from about 2 years prior, and had no explanation of how it was calculated. As much as I should have taken the time to challenge it (or at least demand an explanation) the total with interest was less than $10, and I just paid it.

eeka said...

Ugh. That sucks.

Yeah, this is a bit more than that.

I actually called the other day, and after talking to three people and being on the phone for a total of 49 minutes, they finally told me that I'm being flagged because there's income showing up on my federal return that doesn't show up on my state return. I didn't leave anything off of my state return, and I explained this to them; there are a few lines on the 1040 that aren't on the MA form, so I have a few line items that are on my federal as "additional income" but are on my schedule C for Massachusetts. Both are types of income that the feds allow you to put on either line, and the math comes out the same. So anyway, I have to resubmit my federal and move a couple items on there, hope that they don't get weirded out that I'm resubmitting with no change in refund, and then alert that MA people that I've done this so they stop thinking I have income that I left off my state return.


Anonymous said...

I and my husband received a similar letter stating that we owe taxes for '05,'06 and '07. Of course we moved to another state (thank God) around the end of December,which our CPA brother-in-law says raised a red flag. The move did cost us a lot, but we've kept everything,i.e. receipts etc. But, again, when we asked where they got their figures from, they cannot show us. Now, the auditor won't even respond to our phone calls. So we fax, to show that we are responsible and in contact regarding this matter.

I know many Mass. residents who are getting hit with these unexplained bills from DOR. I think the state is broke. The state enacted this mandatory health care bill which it can't fund. It spent rediculous funds on the Big Dig, and with the economic downturn in progress, they're pannicking. The state doesn't want to downsize, so it has to manufacture these bills for us.

The good news....if there really is that whatever you pay the state for any year gets deducted off your federal taxes that year.

So, essentially, the fed is subsidizing what is probably a scam.