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Refund Redux

It's time for another tale of … well, of systems not working very well. I work in validation; I can't help but think these things are interesting. :)

Last month I explained how the Oregon Department of Revenue screwed up my taxes by recording my $90 payment to them as a $90 refund to me. I finally heard back from them about this, and was struck by how minimal their response was. The only portion of their letter that doesn't look like boilerplate is:

Your payment of $90.00 was received on 5-31-06 and refunded back to you on 7-5-06.

A request for a corrected 1099G has been sent to the area that can address that issue.

I received the 1099G on the same day as the new letter, although in a different envelope. It is correct, showing no refund, so now I'll be able to amend my 2006 taxes. The only remaining problem is that the Oregon Department of Revenue still thinks I owe them money! I wrote back:

I do not agree that my $90.00 was refunded back to me. In my letter dated 3/27/07 I enclosed a copy of my check as proof of my payment. You will similarly need to provide me with evidence that you refunded the $90. It was a simple matter for me to obtain my check copy and mail it to you; it should likewise be simple for you to obtain your check copy and mail it to me.

Furthermore, if in fact you did refund the $90, I deserve an explanation of why it was refunded. Why would you send it back, only to ask for it again several months later? I'll be blunt: I'm looking for an admission of error.

I actually don't know for certain that they didn't refund the $90. I would have gotten a check in the mail (not an electronic transfer) but I wouldn't have any record of it anymore. I wouldn't have kept the stub (if there was one) and I wouldn't be able to find it in my deposit records because I almost never deposit a single check by itself. I believe I would have remembered receiving it, because it would have been so odd, but in any case I'm certainly entitled to ask the State to prove its case rather than simply asserting it.

I do hope I can get the State to admit they made a mistake. If they refunded the $90, the error was in refunding it instead of keeping it. If they didn't refund it, the error was in claiming that they had. I know they screwed up, and I deserve an apology either way.

Think I'll get one?

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