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Christopher Phelps
Christopher Phelps, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 2710
Experience:  CPA, CFP, PFS, Tax Practitioner 21 Years, Member AICPA/CSCPA Tax/Financial Planning Committee Member
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CA state tax 1993

Customer Question

I moved from CA to NV in 93 and apparently didn't file CA state taxes. Now 12 years later without any attempt to contact me, they have garnished my wages for over $1,000. I've managed to have a suspension until 7/05. I never owed taxes when I lived there, but isn't there some sort of statute of limitations? Just want to make sure I'm not being bamboozled.
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Tax
Expert:  Christopher Phelps replied 11 years ago.

Unfortunately, the statute of limitations does not begin to run unless you file the required tax returns.  I would suggest you try to reconstruct your 1993 CA taxes.  CA is money hungry right now and is engaging in very aggressive collection techniques. 


For example, if you sold securities for $3,000 but did not file a return showing that you actually lost money (because you bought them for $5,000), then CA assumes you had no cost basis and taxes you on the $3,000.  Really try to reconstruct by going back to employers and to the IRS to get copies of your return (if filed).  Per the IRS you may obtain copies by doing the following:


"If you need an exact copy of a previously filed and processed return and all attachments (including Forms W-2), you must complete Form 4506 (PDF) , Request for Copy of Tax Return and mail it to the IRS address in the instructions along with a $39 fee for each tax year requested. Copies are generally available for returns filed in the current and past 6 years.


In cases where an exact copy of the return is not needed, tax return and transcripts may be ordered. The tax return transcript shows most line items contained on the return as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. In most cases, a tax return transcript will meet the requirements for lending institutions for mortgage verification purposes.


The transcript can be ordered by completing a Form 4506-T (PDF) or calling(NNN) NNN-NNNNand following the prompts in the recorded message. There is no charge for the transcript and you should receive it in 10 business days from the time we receive your request. Tax return transcripts are generally available for the current and past three years. If you need a statement of your tax account which shows changes that you or the IRS made after the original return was filed, you must request a "Tax Account Transcript". This transcript shows basic data including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income, taxable income, payments and adjustments made on your account. Tax return and account transcripts are generally available for the current and past 3 years.


Form 4506-T can also be used to get proof from the IRS that you did not file a tax return for a particular tax year.


Forms can be downloaded at Forms & Pubs or ordered by calling(NNN) NNN-NNNN"     

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Christopher Phelps's Post: Thanks Christopher. I see the longest you mentioned they would have records for is 6 years or 3 years on the transcript. I did file Federal in 93 but that was 12 years ago. My employer doesn't have records back that far. Will IRS maybe have them back that far on microphice (sp?) I can't even begin to remember or have any idea what the CA state taxes would have been that long ago. I promise this is my last question and I'll be sure to pay the other $5. Thanks.
Expert:  Christopher Phelps replied 11 years ago.

Actually, the verbage says "generally available".  I have been able to get back as far as 15 years on some and only 5 on others.  Its kind of hit or miss. 


I am assuming you received some communication from the FTB before they garnished your wages.  I would try to determine the basis for their assessment (i.e. wages, interest, dividends, etc.) and go after that documentation. See if you have old paystubs or old w-2s from other years for that employer that may show similar income and withholding.  This would at least demonstrate that you have had withholding and could potentially be used by you as a basis for getting some credit for withholding in the affected year.


Also, double check with your employer and ask them to research their payroll reporting files for 1993 CA payroll reports.  Sometimes employers throw away W-2's but not the quarterly and annual payroll reports to CA.  These forms would have enough info on them to reconstruct your wages if they have them.

   
Christopher Phelps, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 2710
Experience: CPA, CFP, PFS, Tax Practitioner 21 Years, Member AICPA/CSCPA Tax/Financial Planning Committee Member
Christopher Phelps and 4 other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Christopher Phelps's Post: Thank you for your help Christopher. I will follow-up on some on your ideas. But for the record, I received no communication of any sort at any time from CA before they garnished my wages.
Expert:  Christopher Phelps replied 11 years ago.

Call them immediately at(NNN) NNN-NNNN  Alternatively contact the Taxpayer Advocate at(NNN) NNN-NNNNand indicate that the FTB has garnished your wages with no contact to you beforehand.  The FTB action, in my opinion, constitutes a hardship which is the requirement to go to the Taxpayer Advocate directly rather then contacting the FTB through normal means.


They probably sent notices to a last know address that you never got.  But its inexcusable for them to garnish before contacting you since they obviously located you and could have contacted you.  

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Christopher Phelps's Post: Thanks. I got it. I had actually mentioned to the man I spoke to with FTB why I was tracked down first since he knew where I worked. He got a little snippy and said they don't have the resources to track down every person. Anyway, I'll give this a shot. I didn't have anything back then. It was just me and no deductions Have a good day.

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