by Allen Williams
In early July 2019 I received a notification from the Kansas Department of revenue that I had not paid my 2018 taxes amounting to $18.00! Yes, you read that correctly as I owed no federal income taxes thanks to the Trump tax cut but the state of Kansas still manages to squeeze out revenue from its denizens despite zero liability on one’s federal return.
I had just 15 days to respond. If I didn’t there was a list of options the agency could choose from including but not limited to:
· File a tax warrant resulting in a lien on your assets
· Levy your bank accounts
· Garnish your wages
· Seize your property including motor vehicles, boats and recreational vehicles
· Suspend or revoke any liquor or dealer licenses you may hold
· Refer your account to a private collection agency and a fee will be added to your account
So I phoned the agency to try and clear up the matter and as expected the system is fully automated. I was immediately dumped into the queue with seven people ahead of me. I continued holding until I was No 5 when suddenly a connection was made and I was on the line with someone from the revenue department who identified herself as Martha.
Before I could discuss the tax problem with Martha, I had to jump through a number of hoops to identify myself with name, address, telephone number, date of birth, SS number, etc. It was unacceptable to give the agent my case number of 0101021941463 as I could be someone impersonating me trying to claim I paid the bill or to make arrangements to pay the delinquency. Yes, these people really are that dense.
Tax bill due plus interest and penalties
Despite my having given this woman my check number, amount
and the date that payment was made, Martha wanted a copy of the check with the
department’s endorsement. All that was really
necessary was to do a system search for the check number and within minutes she
would have been able to ascertain its disposition. But that assumes these people are willing to
assist taxpayers as well as the preexistence of adequate department
infrastructure, e.g.: (1) the department is not understaffed (2)
Incompetence throughout the department is not a factor (3) a weaponized response via political referral or previous encounter is not a factor.
I went to my bank with the same information I gave to Martha
and in about ten minutes they discovered that KS revenue cashed my $18.00 check
four days after I mailed my tax return on April 11th but
then failed to record it for whatever reason.
Obviously, the department of revenue has shorted its
ability to monitor payments into the system and may not have had the means to
verify my payment. This is
irresponsible. But given the dismal oversight in the department, the lack of
vision and the stupid political decisions, I expect things to grow
progressively worse in the future due to the state’s escalating debt.
KS Dept of endorsement on my check dated 4/19/2019
I should note that the department t of revenue would easily have accepted a second check to settle my account but due to its outsourcing tax returns likely would have resulted in the same outcome. The agency has little regard for the people it allegedly serves.
Kansas is a small state with a population of around 2,911,505
persons as of July 2918. The state has a
myriad of debt problems between funding public education and the Kansas Public
Employees Retirement system (KPERS) and is desperate for money.
Kansas agency laid off dozens of employees last year. Now it wants them back https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article230757674.html#storylink=cpy
“KDOR announced in May 2018 that it would eliminate 56 positions as part of a contract with CGI to provide professional services to operate, maintain, enhance and support the Department of Revenue’s tax systems… He said the state will own certain “deliverables” produced by CGI and reiterated that taxpayers won’t experience any disruptions.” Really? so what do you call the disruption I received from the Kansas Dept of Revenue.. an enhancement? - https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article230757674.html
Despite increased computer technology the Kansas Department of Revenue is a poorly managed state agency. Contracting out services with increased liability for school lawsuits and public employees’ retirement obligations is a fool’s errand and has worsened the agency’s ability to perform.
Kansas is at the center of endless lawsuits over school funding and keeping the state employees retirement fund up to date (https://business.ku.edu/sites/business.ku.edu/files/docs/pdfs/centers/bcae/TR%2017-0901--Underfunding%20KPERS%20%28Hall%29.pdf) such that there is little money for anything else. School funding in Kansas consumes over 51% of the state’s budget and taxpayers are on the hook for some 8 billion in unfunded actuarial liability for public employees.
Kansas currently features a per capita debt higher than the US average.“Overall, the State had used debt sparingly in prior decades and was previously considered a low debt state. Now we are a moderate debt state with Moody’s Net Tax Supported Debt of $1,575 per capita. The US average is $1,473…”- https://www.kdfa.org/sites/default/files/uploaded_files/2017%20Debt%20Study%20Rev%200.pdf The media buffoons think that when a state’s per capita debt is higher than the US average, it’s a moderate debt state.
A commission consisting of four lawyers and four non lawyers selects the state’s Supreme Court justices who inure the school’s right to sue the state legislature. It’s a ‘win-win’ for special interests like Alan Rupe and associates who have made a career out of suing the state legislature over school funding.
Look for future difficulties in this haphazard agency chiefly due
to good old boy politics and the state’s failure to get the Kansas Supreme
court out of dictating school funding.