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The New Loneliest Guys – IL Revenue

February 20, 2014

I’m a little worried posting this blog – I hope that the folks at Illinois Revenue have a sense of humor.  Kelly has her issues with the UPS people, my new best friends are the folks at Illinois Revenue.  I think they must be lonely guys – they are so helpful, but hard to get off the phone. Perhaps the modern day Maytag Repairmen.

We need to file a quarterly IL Sales Tax return online.  We have very little sales tax responsibility in IL, as most of our IL business is wholesale and thus we don’t collect IL tax.  The vast majority of our online sales are out-of-state clients.  So every quarter I have to fill out an excruciatingly complicated form to pay some two-digit number worth of sales tax.

I had gotten the hang of this tedious task, but then Illinois Revenue changed their website on me.  Ugh – More thinking on how to pay them their few bucks.  But I figured it out, or so I thought.  Seems I had a couple of errors on the form, although the amount I paid was correct. Around this same time we moved and changed our address, seems everyone in Illinois knew our new address, except for the revenue guys.

Several months later there’s a knock on a friend’s door – It’s the tax collector for region 4 trying to track us down.  This friend doesn’t let him in, but sends me an email with a summary of these events. Oh oh, this cannot be good – are we being audited?  Is this really a tax guy, or some crazy stalker.

So I call the tax collector and we play phone tag for about 2 weeks, but he tracks down my address and I come home one day to find that he had delivered a letter by hand to my front door with a bunch of scary writing.  Now Kelly is panicking, secretly wondering what I have done!

Next day I call IL Revenue Customer Service to try to get to the bottom of the problem.  He asks me to log into the website so we can go through our information.  I explain that I’ll need to call him back, as I need to gather a few more files.  He says, “Don’t worry, I’ll hold.  I’m not doing anything else here today.”

So after a few minutes we walk line by line through our filing to see if we can find the problem.  He asks about line 15.  I say what about line 15? He says the problem is that you didn’t put a number in line 15 and your returns are getting rejected.  But I explain that the number is zero, so I left it blank.

Ah ha, you MUST enter a zero, not leave blank.  He then explains that the new website prefers zeros to blanks, but concedes that it has caused a lot of confusion for people.  So I explain that I probably have a few quarters where I have blanks and not zeros – will that mean another guy will be knocking on my door shortly?  He offers to walk me through several quarters of returns, just to make sure.

So we spend the next hour chit chatting and filling in zeros in tax returns.  Although I do discover along the way that one quarter I paid $1.79 too much and for some reason we’re not able to correct it. I offer that this will be my donation to Illinois and it cannot be worth both of our time to correct.  But we spend another 15 minutes trying to correct, but finally do give up w/ my promise later to file a correction manually by paper.  (Like that was going to happen!)

So after hours of work, and not forgetting the time by tax collector and sleepless nights by Kelly – Smashing’s big tax crisis was that we paid $1.79 too much.  So I thought that this would be the end of the story.

Yesterday I got a letter from Illinois Revenue saying that all of my filings are now complete, but they have charged us interest of $0.11 and a penalty of $1.32.  But since they noticed that we already have a credit balance of $1.79, there was no need to send a check and in fact they offered to send me a check for the remaining $0.36 credit in our account.

I’m glad that this problem is behind us, but I do have to wonder what the total cost of this effort was in terms of man-hours and even the gas for region 4 tax collector – who must have driving all around Barrington trying to track us down.

(Note: He probably could have gone to our website to find our contact details from the comfort of his sofa months earlier!)

Have a Smashing week.

Smashing Blacks Diana Ruffle Ad web

One Comment leave one →
  1. Kelly Daugherty permalink
    February 20, 2014 10:09 am

    Tell them to send the check via UPS — I could use more blog material

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