What Arizona Did With Our 2008 Tax Refund

Last year we chose to file an extension, so our taxes weren’t due until October 15th. I actually thought we were done on April 4th, and had posted about that but then I went and read a book on self-employment taxes and got myself all freaked out.  This year I hope to have them done by April 15th. It is just too nerve wracking waiting for six more months.

Anyway, we owed more money to federal than I’d anticipated, and so we ended up paying a small amount in late fees and interest. OH, dear.  I just went to find out how much it was, and to my horror, I cannot find the check listed in Quicken. I totally remember sitting down, writing a check to pay it.  It was like $5.00.  Okay, okay, crisis averted. I just realized I could look through my checkbook at my duplicates. Okay, there it is. Whew. And there it is in Quicken! The download from my bank only listed it as a check number, and I put question marks in the notes field. Okay.  The late fees/interest came to $5.17. That takes care of federal taxes.

Now to Arizona.  I love Arizona, and I can’t imagine living anyplace else, but sometimes they do some hare brained things.

The state owed us $254.00.   Apparently the state is required to take our tax refund and distribute it to any agencies to which we might owe money.

So this is what happened. First of all, Mr. A has two businesses that are required to report TPT (Transaction Privilege Taxes). This is a tax levied by the State of Arizona, for the “privilege” of doing business here. I file the TPT report online.  The companies (duh) have two different names, but the state has both accounts listed with the same company name.

In September I selected Company A and submitted the report.  Next I went to Company B to submit the report, only to my confusion discovered that Company B’s report had already been submitted.  Somehow I selected the wrong company number initially, and since the state lists the companies by the same name, now hang on don’t run off yet… to make a long story short I filed the wrong report for the wrong company. Amended reports have to be submitted by snail mail.

I don’t pay the amount due online, because the state charges what I consider an exorbitant fee to process the debit or credit card.   It’s almost 3% per $100 that you owe. It’s a lot cheaper for me to stick a stamp on an envelope.

And to tell you the honest truth if they are going to be that cheap and make us pay for the “cost of doing business” credit card fees, then they can wait until my check arrives in the mail, have someone open it, have someone apply it to the correct company, have someone process it and have someone take it to the bank and then wait until our check clears their bank.

I mean let’s think about this.  Let’s say our businesses were doing really well and we owed TPT of $10,000.  And the state wants to charge 3% of that.  That’s $300 in processing fees we’d have to pay. You better bet your bottom dollar I’m sticking a forty-four cent stamp to a five cent envelope and taking a minute to address it.  My frugal Grandma would be proud of me. 🙂

So the state thought both companies owed exactly the same amount of money ($53.39). I sent in the amended return which would wipe out the one amount, and sent a check to take care of the other company.

There was a $2 fee that would be removed once the amended return arrived.

And last but not least, one of the courts had outstanding tickets listed for Mr. A, that were paid off three years ago. I know they were paid because we had to pay them off in order to get his driver’s license reinstated.

So the state took the remaining $145.22 and sent it to the court downtown.

I called the State Department of Revenue to find out what was this notice stating that all our refund had been allocated to various agencies within the state.   By the time I got the notice, they had gotten the check for the one company, and they got the amended return. So they went ahead and refunded each company with a check.  One company was charged $9 for some fee. Granted this wasn’t our fault, but now we get $9 less of our return.

Not to mention, this was a PERSONAL tax refund. It was not supposed to go to the businesses!!      I don’t even know how to attribute this in Quickbooks!  It is not income, it is not a refund. Argh!

I asked Mr. A to call the court and they told him it was an old case, and they had neglected to close the case and never told the state to remove from collections.  They said our money would be refunded.

A couple of weeks later I called to check again and was told the money had been applied to the case and it was paid in full and had been closed.  The lady told me it was for tickets that has never been paid. Hello?

So I explained to her that the state had taken $53.39, $53.39, $2.00 and how in the world was it possible that it just so happened that the “old tickets” came to exactly the amount left in our refund? I guess she agreed that the odds were fairly astronomical on that one and she took a closer look. Then told me she had in fact scheduled that money to be returned to us.

Minus $9.00. We still haven’t seen that check. I wonder if they’ll just make it out to one of Mr. A’s companies again?

Heaven help us if we are due for a refund for 2009.  I have already decided I’m going to bite the bullet and pay for Mr. A’s TPT for a couple of months with a credit card. It will be worth not having to wonder if our refund is going to be submitted to various agencies (for no good reason at all).

For goodness sakes!

Hopefully we’ll owe money this year, then it won’t be a concern. But since the state is about to go broke, we might get an IOU if they do owe us money.

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4 thoughts on “What Arizona Did With Our 2008 Tax Refund

  1. We also live and do business in Arizona. I am closing out all of the books this week and will be submitting the tax returns ASAP, trying to avoid IOUs. Then I am going to check the withholding so that there will be as small a refund as reasonable. Then, I am taking the money that would have been withheld and keeping it in a savings account set aside for taxes (if I get it wrong). If we don’t need it to pay taxes, it is going into our IRA. We did the beans and rice thing 2 years ago and managed to pay down debt. Grandma would be proud. (My grandma sewed to make ends meet and used to use cereal boxes to make small pattern pieces. She also gave us old roll up blinds to draw on so we could erase the crayon pictures and save on paper.) I enjoy reading your blog and am impressed with your garden. Our garden looks better than it produces. We managed to harvest about 2 cups of peanuts after months of effort.


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