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Monday, October 24, 2011

Assertive Letter to Department of Revenue

The various tax collecting agencies can easily send me in an assertive letter writing direction.  This year my correspondence came from the Georgia Department of Revenue.

Their letter, complete with columns of numbers comparing what my tax return said I paid, what they show that they received, and the difference, is designed to demonstrate to me how I have made an egregious accounting error.

My check to them was for $1.00 less than my accountant reported on my tax forms, so rather than confuse the process for next year, I sent $1.00 to the state of Georgia, leaving my overpay from 2010 to apply to 2011.

What I wonder is how they could have $XX,XXX dollars floating around and not recognize an accounting problem on their part?

I feel angry that I have to take my time to ask the bank for a copy of the check front and back (it's done by email but still takes time); that I have to write this letter; and that I have to recognize how poorly accounting may be handled by my state.  However, it will do me no good to be angry in my response to the state.

In many assertive opportunities, it's more important to be assertive respectfully than it is worth it to be angry.

So I wrote them an assertive letter simply reporting the facts to correct their error.  The key word here is SIMPLE - when you are writing government agencies about money, always simply list facts and then what you would like to occur as a result of the facts you are reporting:


To Whom it My Concern:

I am in receipt of your letter dated 10/17/2011.  Your letter fails to include the taxes I paid on April 15 in anticipation of an extension.  I am enclosing a copy front and back of my check for $XXXXX which was cashed by you on April 25, 2011. 

I apparently owe you $1.00 which I am enclosing a check to cover.

Because my taxes were paid on time and in a timely way with an excess overpaid to apply to next year, I do not owe you the penalty and interest which you have assessed. 

Please find enclosed a check for $1.00 and a copy of my check cashed by you for $XXXXX.

Thank you for clearing up this matter,

Linda D Tillman, PhD

If you write the IRS or your state department of revenue, you always enclose your SSN, which I did, but that is not apparent in my copy for you of this letter.  Also because I moved in 2011, I put my old and new address below my signature in case that is the source of their error (although my SSN stayed the same????).


Anonymous said...

As a former IRS employee who worked on simplifying the notices they send out, I appreciate the tone and detail of your response. It was clear and to the point; I hope the issue has been successfully resolved.

Linda T said...

Well, I don't know if it is resolved because I have heard nothing more from them. I guess that's good news, but usually it takes about six weeks for some response and it hasn't been six weeks since I wrote the letter. Really, I don't expect to hear from them because it was their mistake and not really an issue to be resolved between us.