If You Ask Me To Call… The Reply

In my last blog entry I wrote about the Connecticut Department of Revenue Service. They sent me a letter about taxes, but weren’t prepared to handle the onslaught. I blogged about it, then sent a link to my blog to their Twitter account.

A few minutes ago I got an email from Kevin Sullivan, DRS Commissioner. For those who think government is totally uncaring this email will change your mind. Here are some excerpts.

Geoff: First, my apologies for your wholly unsatisfactory experience trying to connect with DRS. We actually do a pretty good job of handling thousands of taxpayer contacts but sure blew it with this one and several more this week. If you will excuse the metaphor, we had a perfect storm of some 60,000 taxpayer notifications – including 2210 notices like the one you received – go out all at once with no one adequately controlling the flow or preparing to handle the response. That, on top of all the usual post-filing calls about refund status, overwhelmed Taxpayer Services.

I finished a not too pleasant “discussion” with my top managers to get this sorted out and get our call times back under control – let alone the call drops that you experienced. You are right that we can and must do better.

Did my celebrity help in getting this response? Maybe, but I take him at his word that the straw that broke the camel’s back came before he heard from me.

I told Commissioner Sullivan I would continue to call and try to reach someone. My 2011 situation is complex and probably not what was anticipated when the rules were drawn up.

In other words, oy!

If You Ask Me To Call…

My 2011 income tax was unusual. I worked for two employers (maybe you heard) receiving a lump sum from one.

Somehow this got me into the penalty box! Too little was withheld. I had to pay extra for the error.

This weekend I got a letter from the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. It says they want more cash!

It’s a three page note (page four says “This page intentionally left blank” in bold type) which concludes,

If you believe the amount of interest calculated for underpayment of estimated income tax is the direct result of a withholding error in connection to the retroactive income tax rate increase, please contact DRS.

Hello! I am the poster child for underpayment of estimated income tax the direct result of a withholding error in connection to the retroactive income tax rate increase.

I called DRS. They have no email address.

I got a typical ‘high call volume’ recording followed by,

“Your call is important to us. Call back later.”

Click.

They hung up!

Seriously, is that the best they can do? How about taking a number and calling me back when you get some time? Is there really someone there who feels having me randomly call hoping a DRS can talk is a good solution?

No one likes to pay taxes. Can’t you folks at least make it a little more pleasant?

The DRS seal says, “Service excellence is our goal.”