Dear PoP – My DC tax refund is missing!

Don’t Jump: Photo from PoPville flickr user Columbia Heights Climber

“Dear PoP,

I’m wondering if you’ve heard from any other readers missing their DC income tax refunds. Mine is totally missing, and I’ve had one hell of a time (read: impossible) reaching a human about it to let me know what’s up. The short story is this: I filed my taxes in March. In April, I got a letter from the DC Office of Tax & Revenue asking for written confirmation from my employer verifying that they have a DC tax withholding account, or something like that. My employer sent that letter immediately. Since then, I’ve tried several times to contact the OTR to check the status of my refund, but it’s been a nightmare maze of automated phone menus, unanswered emails, and being put on hold indefinitely. I have yet to get any kind of answer about what’s going on. It’s gotten to the point of serious frustration and I’m at my wit’s end about where to go from here, or what kind of recourse I have. I don’t mind paying my taxes, but I do mind when the DC government doesn’t give me back what I’m owed– it’ll be around a grand, if I ever see it.

Can you ask your readers for advice or similar experiences?”

Anyone still missing their refund as well?

46 Comment

  • I just received my DC income tax refund on Friday, so yours might be arriving any day now.

  • Thankfully, my DC refund process what short and sweet after filing online. Good luck!

  • Welcome to the club sweetheart. I’m still missing my refund from 2007 and 2009. I’ve also had to twice prove that I paid my taxes for these years with OTR. Most f*ck’d city tax office ever…

  • I owed money. They did NOT hesitate to cash that check. That’s why it’s better to owe money than get a refund. Refunds are a scam.

  • I am also still waiting on my tax refund after having to refile in late april. I fear this mess is going to haunt me. Look forward to any advice someone with more success has. Maybe there is a new black hole for city revenue after the last scam got exposed.

  • Try contacting the Office of Tax and Revenue’s Problem Resolution Office: 202-442-6348.

    • haha, thanks for the suggestion. When my call went straight to voicemail I was going to leave a message but then was glad I didn’t. The service informed me that there was not enough available space in the person’s mailbox. Go figure.

  • I’m in the same boat. I got a letter like yours (which scared the living daylights out of me since it came from the audit bureau), responded immediately, have heard nothing back. And I could use the thousand dollars they owe me, too.

  • ah

    DC also f’d up the refund amounts. They were crediting withheld money at 10c on the dollar so if you withheld $5000, owed $4500 in taxes, instead of getting a $500 refund you were told you owed $4000 in taxes. NIce. They’re getting it sorted out, but it has taken a while already.

  • Hmmm – Both husband and I received our DC refunds within 10 days of filing online through Turbo Tax this year.

    After 22 years in DC this is the 22nd time I have received mine within weeks.

    Good luck.

  • I am having the same problem. I filed in March also and have not yet received my refund. I did not receive any letter saying there was a problem and the website says that my refund is being processed. I wonder if they screwed up the returns that were filed in early March. They have absolutely no explanation as to why I have not received my refund.

    I had this same problem last year when they asked me to provide proof of my identity from Social Security. I immediately went to Social Security (not as bad as one might think) and got the form they needed. Then I sent it in immediately and never heard from them again. I kept calling and calling and after numerous calls from me and my accountant (had to get him involved too) when the inspector–my accountant and I jokingly referred to him as Inspector Gadget– claimed that I was illegally working in this country despite being a U.S. Citizen and working for none other than the federal government. We finally got it wrapped up in December when they paid me my refund. However, since I was not at fault (like you), they actually owe you interest on the money. So, make sure you ask for interest. It’s not alot but you are entitled to it. Good luck.

    I have owed and paid every year that I have been a DC resident, inclduing Tax Year 2009. Inexplicably, I received a check for $231.00 from DC OTR last week. I have no idea why!

  • Thanks for the reminder– I should have received my Federal refund by last week at the latest, so I guess I’ll have to call.

  • every year I have been in DC (8 years) i have filed electronically and received my refund incredibly quickly (think 1-2 weeks). Of course I file in February, which probably helps. If you are owed a refund I’d strongly suggest electronic filing early.

  • Thanks, everyone, for commiserating and advising. I did file online through TurboTax, for what it’s worth.

    Dave, thanks for the contact info. I’d previously searched the OTR website for individual email addresses to no avail, so… it’s much appreciated. I just sent her an email; got an out-of-office. We’ll see what comes of it.

    To all of you who already received your refunds- congratulations and I hope to someday join your ranks. OTR sounds like a real mess of an operation.

  • Thanks so much. I’ll give this a shot.

  • I have never ever been so frustrated with a tax process as I am this year. So I filed my my return in early March as well, and two weeks ago I received a letter stating that I owed DC $800 dollars vs the thousand I was due as a refund. The deadline for my payment was exactly ten days after they sent the letter.

    I’ve tried calling the OTR office once a day since I recieved the letter. Being a CPA, I am certain that the office made a mistake and have already sent in a letter with all support for my figures within my return. Needless to say, I still haven’t been able to talk with an actual adjuster or someone else with tax knowledge – I keep getting the same run around that DC made an error on my return and someone will contact me within 48 hours.

    Not only am I upset with this whole cluster f’d process, but I feel bad for anyone who isn’t familiar with tax laws and codes. When I received my letter, I was ready, had my paperwork in order and knew they had made a mistake. I can imagine that most folks who don’t use an accountant would see this bill and end up paying it. I really don’t understand how the tax office here in DC is so utterly hopeless. Pathetic.

  • For anyone that wants to refresh their memory on the $50 million tax office embezzlement scandal from a few years ago, here you go:

  • I’ve had occasional income-tax issues, and I’ve found that the only way to deal with them is to go to the Tax Office, in person, paperwork in hand. That’s always worked for me. Phone and e-mail, never.

    • I was going to suggest the same thing – I once had to get a copy of an old DC tax return (to prove to the state of Maryland that I didn’t pay them income tax that year because I lived in DC at the time and paid here). Going in person was surprisingly easy (fortunately I had a fairly simple request). I also wonder if contacting your council member might help expedite the attention given to your case.

    • +1 (it doesn’t look like my response went through the first time)

  • What’s with the photo? Is that the employee who keeps screwing up the tax returns?

  • I have a very similar story – filed in March bia Turbo tax, got the letter saying that they had to verify the DC withholding account number, etc. Last week, after many, many phone calls, I finally got my refund. Left numerous messages at the number that I was given for a “live” person. Finally, I called the person whose name and number was on the initial person’s outgoing message. Within days, the refund magically appeared.

  • why not contact Eleanor Holmes Norton and ask her to help you? her office is full of very helpful people who are eager to help. I had my runarounds with DC offices in the past (mostly the ones relating to home ownership), but never the tax office. my accountant files my taxes electronically every year, and most of the time DC pays any refunds well in advance of the federales. but if you keep getting an answering machine, watch out. especially if they say things like “your call is important to us” and end up with “have a blessed day.” if that’s what you’re getting, you’re sunk. call your neighborhood rep or Ms. Norton.

  • I haven’t received mine either…

  • I filed March 25, am due a refund and haven’t received any communication from the tax office.

  • The same thing happened to me the year before last. I kept faxing my employer’s letter verifying that DC taxes are being withheld. Quite ridiculous as I work for the federal gov’t. I also mailed a few copies to them. I was on the verge of going down there in person but things came through in time. I was pretty angry about how this was handled, and thought the city was completely shady about this whole ordeal, that I now claim higher exemptions to avoid expecting a DC refund. Something you might want to keep in mind. I had to pay a few hundred this past year, but I should have it dead on for next year. Just a thought.. Good luck!

  • ugh. This is no solace to the OP, but this sort of thing makes me so happy to be active duty, and not have to pay DC taxes.

  • The number that worked for me is (202) 727-6589. I believe her name is Lonnie, not sure of the last name. It could be Kapman. She was very helpful and after talking to her, I had my refund within days.

  • Thanks, everyone. After a final attempt to reach their customer service line resulted in 30 minutes on hold and no human, I’ve got emails out to Roxanne Cooper and my council member. What a red-tape mess. If I don’t get this sorted out soon, I’ll be headed to the office in person– just a question, I’ve seen two addresses listed online for the OTR– which is the one to go to in person?

  • Keep trying that number. I’ve noticed that their phone service is very spotty (go figure). I had to call all morning yesterday to get the number from someone’s outgoing message. Numerous calls just kept ringing and ringing.

  • Just got a press release from Alert DC:
    Press Release; National Park Service

    National Park Service to Partially Close 16th Street, N.W. due to Scheduled
    Repairs and Restoration Project to Meridian Hill Park Wall

    Washington, D.C.—Beginning the week of Monday, July 12th, the National Park Service’s (NPS) Rock Creek Park and its contractor, The Christman Company of Alexandria, VA, will begin performing necessary stabilization work on the historic 35-foot- high retaining wall at Meridian Hill Park that borders northbound 16th Street, N.W. This historic wall is located on the west side of Meridian Hill Park near the intersection of 16th Street N.W.
    and Crescent Place Drive, N.W. Work on this project is expected to be
    completed in approximately three months.

    To ensure pedestrian and vehicular safety, the work will require closure of a portion of the northbound lanes of 16th Street, N.W. beginning the week of July 12, 2010. The work area will start near the bus stop on the northbound side of 16th Street, N.W., and continue approximately 600-feet northward. The resulting traffic shift will provide two lanes in both directions at all times. Parking along southbound 16th Street, N.W. will be eliminated adjacent to the work area.

    “We are pleased that the traffic adjustments required to perform this work, consisting of the repair and stabilization of this historic, 35-foot-tall concrete retaining wall, have been planned to minimize inconvenience to pedestrians and motorists,” said NPS Rock Creek Park Acting Superintendent Cindy Cox. “We hope all can agree this is worth the inconvenience this summer to ensure another 96 years of performance at this important capital area landmark.”

    The work area will be defined by traffic barriers, traffic cones, temporary signage, and traffic control panel signs. The work area on the north bound lane of 16th Street, N.W. will have traffic barriers with fencing on top along the traffic side of the work area. The work area will be enclosed with fencing at each end and along the curb area.

    Pedestrian traffic on the east side of 16th Street, N.W. will be restricted during the working hours of Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
    This sidewalk will be open every afternoon after working hours and will remain open all weekend. During working hours, pedestrian traffic will then be redirected to the west side of 16th Street, N.W. at W and Euclid
    Streets, N.W. Excavation equipment and man lifts will be employed for
    this work. Some tree pruning will be necessary prior to the work to allow the equipment to fully access the wall.

  • Just to follow up in case anyone comes across this thread in the future: I did finally have luck by emailing Roxann Cooper, Director of Customer Service Administration for the Office of Tax and Revenue. Her email address is [email protected]. She wrote me today and said my refund has been “released” to my bank account and should show up within 3 days. No explanation or anything, but she must’ve done something to get it to happen. Thanks for the tips, everyone.

  • I just clicked into this site out of frustration. I never have had a problem getting my refund before (and I have lived in the District for 30 years). This year, however, I’m still waiting and can’t get through to a human being. AAARGH! Kevin

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