I'm on my way to drop this letter in the mail, thought I'd share it:
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David B. XXXX
P.O. Box 7020
Boston, MA 02204
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing in response to your kind (if slightly tardy) Christmas gift of a Notice of Intent to Assess bearing my name and Taxpayer ID Number (NUMBER) and the Document Number (NUMBER). I wish to inquire what it is I have done to be deserving of your kind attention.
You enclosed the following cryptic note: “Pursuant to MGL 62 Sec. 6(h), the allowable Massachusetts earned income credit is limited to 10% of the allowable income credit amount from your federal return.” After a joyful romp through musty old boxes, I was able to find my tax records from 2001. Imagine my glee at discovering that this treasure hunt was only the beginning of the fun, since I quickly found a deeper enigma: I did not claim any Massachusetts (nor federal) earned income credit in 2001. Maybe you meant some other year? No such luck.
I realize that you must love me deeply, or at least you love my 2001 returns, since this is the third time you have reviewed them. I do wish, however, that you would stop sending me cards. I have moved on and have made new friends. I wish you would do the same.
But perhaps it is nostalgia for our long history together (and, though I make no accusations, perhaps too much egg nog?) that is causing your regrettable tendency to dwell in the past. I notice that, in a small box underneath the section of your note titled “Assessment Detail”, you wrote “reason for change” followed by “wages - amount filed $37,538 - corrected amount $41,752.” The difference between these numbers, multipled by the 5.6% tax rate, exactly matches the “Tax Assessment” (before “interest accrued”) that you wrote in the “Assessment Detail.” Maybe this has something to do with the reason for your unexpected note?
I find it charming that you remember the exact amount of income I initially claimed on my Massachusetts tax return four years ago, but I am a bit disturbed that you do not remember our correspondence in March of 2002, when (after receiving a late W-2) I amended my return to show an income of $39,535.
Also, I am sad to learn that you have been fraternizing with the IRS. As usual, that jealous hussy has made mountains out of molehills. The $41,752 number she fed you appears to come from my original, erroneous federal return (on which I had included expense reimbursements as income) filed in February of 2002. I filed a corrected federal return in March of 2002 (at the same time I filed my amended Massachusetts return), showing income of $39,634.51.
As you may have noticed by comparing the numbers given above for my two amended returns, I had made an error of transcription on my amended Massachusetts return, under-reporting my income by $100, though this error was not carried through to the amount of my requested refund. (All calculations had been done on a separate worksheet.) Nevertheless, my Massachusetts refund check (number NUMBER, dated April Xth, 2002), included an upward “adjustment” of my refund by $5.00, which I failed to scrutinize. You taught me a valuable lesson by assessing me $5.06 on May X, 2002, (bill number NUMBER), which I promptly paid.
In conclusion, I believe you owe me six cents. With interest, that comes to seven cents. In future, if you insist on continuing to send me notes about our past relationship, please give a much clearer indication of what the problem is that we are supposed to be discussing. I simply do not have the time anymore to hazard guesses as to why you are unhappy or think you deserve money.
I understand that it is only fair to allow you to give your side of the story behind your most recent note. Please do so in writing, preferably by email to (EMAIL).
David B. XXXXX (SSN)
PS In lieu of sending a refund check, you may donate the seven cents to WBUR Radio. To save yourself the cost of a postage stamp, you may do so online at http://www.wbur.org/inside/pledge/ . Please email me a copy of the pledge confirmation page.
PPS Your contribution to WBUR is tax-deductible.
this is in or around Indignation, Mass.