Adventures in Government Accounting

Today something arrived in the mail that filled me with dread: an envelope with the Ohio Department of Taxation logo in the return address.

The past several years I’ve been coughing up $70 for a fancy edition of TurboTax, but that’s hardly protection from the tax code’s – and my own – obtuseness. So I opened the envelope thinking, “what did I screw up, and what’s it gonna cost me?”

What I screwed up is… nothing. The third page of a packet beginning with “WE HAVE RECALCULATED YOUR 2010 OHIO INCOME TAX RETURN” lists several dozen line items from my return – in an AS REPORTED column and an AS CORRECTED column. I reported state income tax withheld directly from my W2, to the tune of more than $1,100. The Ohio Department of Taxation helpfully corrected this number – to $0.00.

Good one, desk jockeys. The copy of my W2 that I sent with my 1040 was somehow insufficient, so you’re sending me a “correction” two months later? In the form of a bill for more than $1,100, because apparently my state taxes weren’t withheld by The Ohio State University?  I can’t believe this is the process; if you lost my W2, send me a documentation request. The outcome would be the same, minus the heavy circles I added around box 17 and your “correction!”

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