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Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Tax Dollars At Work

[Q| Last January, I was a bit miffed. To save money, New York State mailed a postcard stating that tax forms would not be mailed. Tax payers could either reproduce forms at local libraries, or download them online.
Usually, I file early, as I have extra pay withheld so I am guaranteed a refund. This year I was lazy and filed on April 15, at 6:30 PM (posted at 7:05 PM).

My federal return had a refund, but I was shocked to find that I owed New York State some $700. Oh well, thought I, I can cover it with my federal refund and change. I'll file, my refund should arrive at about the same time the state sends me a bill with a penalty, and everything will be A.O.K.
So I return home to find a letter from:
New York State Department of Taxation and Finance
OPTS - Protest Correspondence Unit - Personal Income Tax
Here's the bill, I assumed, and read it while in the bathroom. I had made three mistakes:
1) Wrong NY State tax entered.
2) Wrong NY City tax entered. (Since the 1976 bankruptcy, the State collects city taxes for NYC. Methinks it saves money.)
3) They allowed the New York City school tax credit.
End result: a refund of $182 ! Attached! Six weeks after I filed! And it arrived before the Federal refund.
The State could have said, you screwed up in our favor, we're keeping the money. Instead, they corrected my mistakes.
Guess I'll do my taxes earlier next year.

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