October 09, 2013|Paul Muschick | The Watchdog
Tax collectors acquire no botheration demography your money aback it’s due. But they sometimes acquire problems giving it aback aback they owe you.
An Allentown man and a Coplay woman spent abundant of this year gluttonous refunds for bounded taxes they either overpaid or shouldn’t acquire paid at all. In their abstracted cases, they came to the aforementioned cessation — abyssal the tax accumulating arrangement is taxing.
“I aloof appetite my refund,” Pat Schin of Coplay told me in September, six months afterwards she asked Berkheimer Tax Administrator of Bangor to acknowledgment bounded casework taxes for 2013 that had been taken from her Sands bank paycheck in January.
Schin said she shouldn’t acquire to pay the tax because she didn’t assignment at the bank in Bethlehem this year. She chock-full alive there at the end of aftermost year. But her final check, accoutrement her accomplishment through Dec. 30, wasn’t cut until Jan. 4, so she was still actuality burdened into 2013.
Schin told me she alleged Bethlehem gluttonous a acquittance and was referred to Berkheimer. She mailed the acquittance appeal to Berkheimer in backward March. She was told in April it would booty 75 canicule to process. She arrested afresh in July and said she was told Berkheimer hadn’t accustomed her claim.
She said she emailed the forms again. On Aug. 20, a Berkheimer adumbrative told her she would try to accelerate her case. On Sept. 6, with no acquittance in hand, Schin asked the Watchdog for help.
“If I had to pay a tax, there would be deadlines. Why not one for a refund?” Schin told me. “I anticipate they achievement bodies get so affronted they will aloof go away. Not me!”
I apparent Berkheimer couldn’t advice her and the aggregation should acquire told her so.
It didn’t acquire her money to acquittance because she had been aggravating to aggregate from the amiss tax collector. Berkheimer had six months to acquaint her that but didn’t.
Keystone Collections Group collects bounded casework taxes for Bethlehem. That’s who she should acquire asked for a refund.
Jim Hunt, Berkheimer’s applicant casework director, told me the rep who batten with Schin in July had bootless to ask area she worked, which would acquire resulted in her actuality redirected to Keystone.
“I do apologize for that,” he said, acquainted he would be acclamation that point with the chump affliction department.
That doesn’t explain why the annihilate wasn’t bent earlier.
Shortly afterwards my call, Hunt forwarded Schin’s acquittance appeal to Keystone, which is based in western Pennsylvania but has an appointment in Bethlehem.
Schin got her analysis aftermost week. She additionally got a bonus: a acquittance for the $52 bounded casework tax she paid in 2011, because she hadn’t becoming abundant that year to acquire to pay.
Geoff Bradford of Allentown additionally got his acquittance afresh but accepting it from Keystone wasn’t accessible for him.
Bradford lives in Allentown and afield paid his 2012 estimated becoming assets tax payments to Keystone instead of Berkheimer, which collects Allentown’s taxes. He paid Keystone because he accustomed Keystone forms in his column appointment box in Northampton County (he acclimated to alive in Bethlehem), area Keystone collects bounded taxes.
He afterwards realized, afterwards attractive at his W-2 form, that becoming assets taxes had been deducted from his paychecks all year long. He hadn’t been acquainted of that because he has absolute drop and doesn’t see his paychecks.
That meant Bradford had paid bifold becoming assets tax to Allentown aftermost year. He told me he alleged Keystone gluttonous a acquittance and was told to acquaintance Berkheimer.
In May and August, he beatific Berkheimer copies of the canceled checks he’d accounting to Keystone.
In September, Berkheimer beatific him a acquittance for one quarter’s tax payments. It told him Keystone had bootless to advanced the added three annual payments to Berkheimer, so he’d acquire to get them from Keystone.
“So clearly, Berkheimer was aloof blockage before, while they approved to get the money from Keystone, and now they acquire accustomed up and handed it aback to me,” a balked Bradford told me Sept. 20.
Hunt told me Keystone, which did not acknowledgment my call, had “no acknowledged right” to acquire Bradford’s payments.
“If the funds were beatific to Keystone in error, they should acquire accustomed that actuality with the aboriginal one accustomed and artlessly forwarded it aback to Mr. Bradford, advertence they could not acquire it and to acquaintance us for filing instructions,” Hunt said. “When they did not … they should acquire been able to analyze it as funds due us and beatific us that payment. The actuality that they accustomed four payments over a advance of about a year is concerning.”
After my inquiry, Hunt said he would ask Keystone to adjust the affair as anon as possible. Bradford accustomed his acquittance from Keystone about two weeks ago.
This is usually area I action some words of wisdom. But I’m activity to let Bradford handle it because I can’t sum it up any bigger than he did.
“So I assumption the moral of the story, as my accompany say, is you acquire to be crazy to still do your own taxes,” Bradford told me. “The arrangement is way too complicated for a believer to understand.”
The Watchdog is appear Thursdays and Sundays. Acquaintance me at [email protected], 610-841-2364 or The Morning Call, 101 N. Sixth St., Allentown, PA, 18101. I’m on Twitter @mcwatchdog and Facebook at Morning Alarm Watchdog.
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