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Tax Case Update

My lengthy 2005 Oregon tax saga is over. I had my "day in court" — actually just a teleconference with a magistrate — and we all came to an agreement in about 15 minutes.

Shortly after I mailed my court filing (perfectly bad timing!) I got a letter from the DOR offering an explanation for what happened:

Your amended return and payment was received before your original return had completed processing. As a result, the payment made with your amended return was refunded to you when your original return was processed.

The DOR representative I spoke with in the teleconference had a different theory that sounds perhaps more plausible: When they received my payment, they didn't mark my account (for whatever reason) with a "hold for amended return" flag. Since they're very slow about processing amended returns, my account looked overpaid and they issued a prompt refund so that they wouldn't owe me interest on the "overpayment".

Whatever the source of the error, they agreed it was an error… and not something that happens frequently. The DOR's written response to my filing satisfied half of my demands right away, and they agreed to two others during the teleconference. I got everything I asked for except reimbursment of my filing costs, which they explained there's no provision in the law to allow.

When I filed my complaint, the penalties and interest totaled $10.04, and I will be recovering all of that. And it only cost me $26.10 to get it! :)

I'm happy to report that no one called my case frivolous or otherwise complained about the very small amount of money involved. Everyone was professional and respectful. Aside from the slowness of the system — it took two and a half months from the time I filed until I got my day in court — I come away with a positive impression of the manner in which my case was handled.


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