Collections Company Coming After Me for Back Taxes
I got a very stressful call yesterday from DCS - Diversified Collections Services. The caller said that I owed $11,0333 dollars in back taxes to Virginia and unless I paid it within the next 2 days they would start the process to garnish my wages.
This person called me at work right before 5pm. At first I was laughing because I thought it was a joke, but it suddenly got very seriously for me when the told me my SSN and that they had been trying to contact me for the past several years. I am sure these are the typical collection agent tactics but they did everything they good to make me panic and ask what I could do to prevent this.
The first think I did was ask why I hadn't heard of this before. The response was they had been trying to contact me for the past several years. They had sent regular mailings to me and none were returned so I should be aware of the amount in collections. I assured the person I had never heard of this prior to the phone call, but it didn't really get me anywhere.
I then assured them this was a mistake that I had been living, working, and paying taxes in North Carolina since 2001 so this was some sort of mistake. I asked for some documentation that would explain what the $11,033 was for so I could clear it up and she said it would take several weeks to provide that information to me - not before the deadline for the meeting they were having to start the garnishment of my wages. She only offered to me that I could fax my 2003 Federal and NC state income taxes to the collection company within the next 24 hours to see if that would help.
Then I started to think about if this was legitimate. I asked for proof that they were who they said they were - she assured me she was, but she couldn't provide me with a contact person from the VA government. I would have to find that out on my own.
Needless to say my mind was racing through the night as I tried to understand what this meant. I scoured the Internet and learned a lot about debt collection. It turns out a lot of people who have never lived in VA have had this same experience.
I did find this site that had a sample letter I could send the collections company to dispute the debt and give me 30 days to figure out what was going on.
This morning I called the VA Dept of Taxation Collections dept as soon as they opened. I was connected to a much friendly person that did confirm for me that they believed I owed them back taxes for YR2003 and it was likely because of some information from my federal tax return. This person recommended I send them my federal and state income tax returns for YR2003 and that would suspend the collections process and followup in a couple days to see if everything got straightened out. I felt a lot better while talking to the Dept of Taxation in VA - and quickly forgot about chewing them out for making this bogus claim to begin with.
I went ahead and faxed my income tax returns to the VA Dept of Taxation. Hopefully that will be enough to straighten out this mess.
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