SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Sacramento couple say their tax-refund money they planned to use for an anniversary trip never came.
“It’s our one year anniversary. We’re both really excited,” said John Kalinowski.
Just months before their Costa Rica trip, John and his wife, Ashley, got a letter from the Franchise Tax Board, saying their entire $531 state tax refund was being withheld, tied to an outstanding fix it ticket.
“They said oh, the dDepartment of revenue took it,” said John.
But he knew he had no outstanding fix it ticket for his vehicles.
Then his bank account was garnished another $615 plus another $100 bank processing fee.
John is now out $1246 and he can’t seem to get anyone from the state to explain why!
“Frustrated, really frustrated and scared too,” said John.
We went searching for answers.
Our investigation started at the Franchise Tax Board which told us to get check with the Department of Revenue Recovery. They then pointed us to the Sacramento County Superior Court, where we figured out exactly what happened.
The courts mistakenly tied a fix it ticket John got while in a company vehicle, to John when his work was responsible for it.
To make things more complicated, John moved so the courts sent notices to his old address.
“Because the error was caused by the court, the court would be responsible for the penalty,” said Betty Williams, Tax Attorney, Williams and Associates.
Williams says while the court made a mistake, John should’ve updated his address with the DMV, which he admits he didn’t do.
“He would’ve received the notice before his bank was ever touched and he would’ve had the opportunity to fix it,” said Williams.
After we got involved, John and Ashley finally got their refund plus the bank waived that $100 processing fee.
Money they got back in time for their anniversary trip.
“It feels relieving to have it all taken care of,” said John.
By law, the DMV requires you to update your address within 10 days of moving.
And if you move out of state, be sure to let all tax agencies know too or you could be responsible for fines and late fees, you don’t know about.