Recently I received a letter from the State of Maryland stating that they had filed a $8200 tax lien against me for income taxes that I failed to report. They had stated that this occurred for the year 2002. The only problem is that I never lived or worked in Maryland or had a employer based in Maryland. I was born and raised in Montana. The only income source I have had in the last ten years was working for the State of Montana government. This comes at a bad time, since I am trying to refinance my home and buy some investment property.
So, I called Maryland to see how they went about filing the lien. They told me that the lien was filed based on an address reported to them by the IRS. I called the IRS and they said that Maryland was mistaken and that they only showed Montana Address. I called Maryland back and told them this. They said that they were not wrong and that the only way to fix the problem was by me sending or faxing my state's income tax return that I filed to them. I believe this contains very confidential information and I do not believe that I should have to fax this to them to clear up a mistake that they made.
While talking to the IRS, they said that they had all the W2s that I had from working in Montana. They said that if I worked in Maryland, that the employer will have to have sent the W2 to them. The person for the IRS said that if I wanted to clear it up, I should ask Maryland for a copy of the W2 that they had on file for me. It should show the state of Montana, which should clear the issue.
Upon calling Maryland, they told me that they did not have the W2, but it was still up to me to prove that I did not live in Maryland. I told them that it was strange that I had visited Washington DC in 2002 and I was possibly the victim of identity theft....something Maryland dismissed immediately. I said that maybe my SSN was stolen by a terrorist or and illegal immigrant. They responded that if that was the case, it would have to be something that I would have to prove......Hopefully homeland security doesn't hear about them ignoring a possible lead.
So I asked them what the employer was, so I could investigate if my identity was stolen. Maryland told me that they did not have this information. I asked Maryland what information that they did have, and they told me that they have a Maryland address for me. I asked them if that was what they were basing this whole attack on my character on. They said yes. Maryland then stated that they knew the business practice would get people that didn't have income in the state, but it was worth it...so that they could get the people that didn't file. I asked them if this happened to a lot of people and they said that it did.
Maryland also stated that if I wanted to avoid the problem that I should not file a tax return with a Maryland address. I said that I hadn't, and that I had documentation to prove it (that year I used Jackson Hewitt to do my taxes). I then asked them if they had investigated the address that they had me listed for. They said that they had not. I said it may be a hotel or a business, but they said that the information from the IRS was really reliable. Again I told them the IRS told me that they had no record of me having any address other than addresses in Montana.
I then asked them that since it was their mistake why they couldn't call the IRS to work it out with them. They said that they can not call the IRS because the information is private. I asked them if it seemed a little silly that they got all the information in a file sent to them from the IRS, and they expect me to send them my tax returns, why they couldn't talk to the IRS directly.
I also asked them how long it would take to investigate the case and release the lien. I was told it would take 60 to 90 days....in the meantime my credit would be ruin for that period. They also said that the credit agencies don't always take the liens off, that I would have to research the issue and dispute the lien if I discovered it down the road.....That costs me money and is a major inconvenience.
I had discussed this issue with Maryland before, about a year and a half ago. At the time I told the comptroller everything, and I called the IRS. Same discussion, but the comptroller told me that they would work it out and investigate it. I never received any further correspondence from Maryland until I got the tax lien...So I believed the issue to be cleared up. Obviously it wasn't.
Basically, Maryland has harassed me and damaged me financially and emotionally because of a single piece of information that they say they got from the IRS. I have worked on computers for 10 years, so I know that computer programs can cause these types of errors. When I suggested this to Maryland, they immediately dismissed it, saying that their systems were good.
I believe that they could have done some research and fixed the problems, rather than pursuing me relentlessly. I also believe that this could happen to other citizens that have had nothing to do with Maryland. I think that Maryland's business practices are damaging and unethical.
Butte, mt, Montana