BEFORE THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION
Petitioner, : FINDINGS OF FACT,
: CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
v. : AND FINAL DECISION
OPERATIONS DIVISION OF THE : Appeal No. 92-1226
UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION, :
: Serial No. XXXXX
STATEMENT OF CASE
This matter was heard before the Utah State Tax Commission in a formal hearing on XXXXX. Lisa L. Olpin, Administrative Law Judge, heard the matter for and on behalf of the Commission. Petitioner was present and represented himself. Assistant Utah Attorney General XXXXX was present and represented Respondent.
Based upon the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing, the Commission makes its:
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. The tax in question is individual income tax.
2. The years in question are XXXXX, XXXXX and XXXXX.
3. Petitioner is requesting that the Tax Commission grant him refunds on his individual income tax returns for the years in question.
4. According to Tax Commission records, Petitioner filed his returns for the years in question in a timely manner, requesting a refund on each of the years, $$$$$, $$$$$ and $$$$$ respectively.
5. With regard to XXXXX, Petitioner testified that he never received a refund check from the Commission for $$$$$. For this reason, he requests the refund at this time.
6. XXXXX, Customer Service Manager for the Operations Division of the Tax Commission, testified and provided documentation showing, however, that the Commission issued a refund check XXXXX to a XXXXX for $$$$$ on XXXXX and mailed it to XXXXX.
7. Department of Finance records show that this same check was redeemed on XXXXX.
8. Petitioner stated that the Bountiful address was his mother's address. He had used this address as a "mail drop".
9. He contends that he did not receive the refund check for XXXXX and now requests a copy of the check to find out who endorsed it. XXXXX responded, however, that the checks are no longer available and all that remains is the information already attested to which is stored on microfiche.
10. With regards to tax years XXXXX and XXXXX, there is no dispute that the returns were filed timely and that the refunds were requested. At issue is whether or not Petitioner is eligible to receive those refunds, including interest, at this time.
11. XXXXX testified that Petitioner filed returns for both XXXXX and XXXXX without sufficient documentation, i.e., W-2 forms, to substantiate the total amount of credit he requested for Utah income tax withheld.
12. According to XXXXX, relying upon Tax Commission records for the year XXXXX, Petitioner submitted a single W-2 form showing $$$$$ in withholding credit. No other documentation was sent with the return; therefore, the remaining $$$$$ credit Petitioner had requested was denied.
13. On XXXXX, the Commission sent Petitioner a letter explaining the lack of documentation to substantiate the full amount of credit claimed for XXXXX and asked Petitioner to submit additional information.
14. Also according to XXXXX, again relying upon Tax Commission records for the year XXXXX, Petitioner claimed $$$$$ in withholding credit. He did not submit any W-2 forms in support of this claim. The Tax Commission, however, allowed Petitioner $$$$$ of this amount because its own records confirmed this amount. The Tax Commission no longer allows withholding credit when a W-2 form is not provided by the taxpayer.
15. On XXXXX, the Commission sent Petitioner a letter explaining the lack of documentation to substantiate the full amount of credit claimed for XXXXX and asked Petitioner to submit additional information.
16. For both years XXXXX and XXXXX, Tax Commission records show that no correspondence was received from Petitioner regarding these letters requesting additional information until XXXXX.
17. In this XXXXX letter, date-stamped upon receipt at the Tax Commission, Petitioner requests, among other things, the XXXXX and XXXXX refund amounts. He also states that he submitted "the tax information you requested" (XXXXX W-2's) with the letter.
18. Then in a letter from the Commission dated XXXXX, the Commission confirms that it received Petitioner's "verification for the tax liability" for the year XXXXX.
19. As of the date of the formal hearing, the Tax Commission contends that it has never received any W-2 statements from Petitioner for the tax year XXXXX.
20. Petitioner, on the other hand, claims that he has corresponded with the Tax Commission on a continuing basis, dating as far back as XXXXX when he states he sent a letter asking the whereabouts of his XXXXX refund.
21. Petitioner submitted copies of letters that he claims to have sent over the years to the Tax Commission dated XXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXX, and XXXXX, discussing refund amounts Petitioner was expecting, but had yet to receive. In the XXXXX letter, Petitioner stated that the XXXXX W-2 forms were enclosed in the envelope with the letter.
22. XXXXX responded that there is no record of receiving any of these letters at the Tax Commission.
23. The only proof that these letters were ever sent to the Commission is Petitioner's own testimony.
24. Petitioner testified further that he had called the Tax Commission on many occasions and could not resolve the situation. He stated he was told that his file could not be located and that someone would get back to him.
25. Petitioner is unsure if, in fact, he did send all of the necessary supporting documents, namely W-2 forms, with the filed returns in question. He recalls, however, that he mailed in the information requested by the Commission on two or three separate occasions since filing the returns.
26. Adding to the confusion of this case is the fact that Petitioner's social security number has been a mystery at the Tax Commission for many years. Petitioner's XXXXX federal income tax return and XXXXX Renter's Credit Claim forms which were submitted to the Tax Commission show Petitioner's social security number as XXXXX. His XXXXX and XXXXX Utah income tax returns list the same number as XXXXX. His XXXXX Utah income tax return also shows XXXXX, but was stricken over with the number XXXXX without explanation.
27. A Tax Commission notice letter to Petitioner dated XXXXX concerning Petitioner's XXXXX Utah return lists yet another social security number for Petitioner, XXXXX.
28. Petitioner testified that his true social security number is another number, XXXXX; the number that was first assigned to him. He recalled that he lost his social security card as a teenager and was assigned the number XXXXX when he switched jobs in XXXXX.
29. According to XXXXX, the Commission relies upon accurate social security numbers in tracking a taxpayer's account. She, like Petitioner, has no idea where the number XXXXX, as seen on the Commission's notice, originated from.
30. It is clear from Tax Commission notices that the Commission was uncertain as to which social security number was correct as different numbers are used on different notices sent to the taxpayer over the intervening years.
31. Petitioner argues that the correspondence that he claims he sent to the Commission over the years was misplaced or mislogged because of the confusion over social security numbers.
32. XXXXX responds, however, that she checked all of the social security numbers previously given and found no record of correspondence received from Petitioner before XXXXX.
33. In conclusion, the Collections Division argues the following: 1) Petitioner is not entitled to a refund for XXXXX income taxes as records show that a check was, in fact, sent and cashed in XXXXX; 2) Petitioner is not entitled to a refund for XXXXX income taxes because he did not respond to the notice sent in XXXXX disallowing a portion of his claimed withholding credit nor did he send documentation until XXXXX which is beyond the three year statute of limitations; and 3) Petitioner is not entitled to a refund for XXXXX income taxes because he did not respond to the notice sent in XXXXX disallowing a portion of his claimed withholding credit until XXXXX which is beyond the three year statute of limitations. Further, the Collections Division still has no record as of the date of the hearing of receiving Petitioner's 1985 W-2 forms.
34. Petitioner argues that the refunds are due
him for the following reasons: 1) he has never received the check the
Commission claims it sent for XXXXX taxes; 2) he filed his returns on time, requesting
the refunds; 3) he telephoned the Commission and wrote letters about past due
refunds as early as XXXXX; 4) he sent in the requested documentation (W-2
forms) two or three different times; and 5) the confusion over the social
security numbers may have contributed to the loss or misplacement of letters
and W-2s that he sent in.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
"If a refund or credit is due because the amount of tax deducted and withheld from wages exceeds the actual tax due, no refund or credit may be made or allowed unless the taxpayer or his legal representative files with the commission a tax return claiming the refund or credit within three years from the due date of the return... or within two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever period is later." (Utah Code Ann. §59-10-529(7)(a).)
DECISION AND ORDER
Based upon the foregoing, the Tax Commission determines that Petitioner is not entitled to a second refund for the tax year XXXXX as the Collections Division has shown that Petitioner was already refunded in XXXXX for $$$$$.
Regarding the remaining years, XXXXX and XXXXX, the Commission finds that Petitioner is entitled to the refunds he requested. Here, Petitioner requested the refunds when he timely filed the two returns in question; therefore, complying with the code section cited above. The fact that he did not supply adequate documentation with his refund request will not bar him from later supplying that information and obtaining his refund. The three year statute of limitations applies to the request itself, not to the time in which a taxpayer has to submit additional information.
Interest is calculated on the refund due for XXXXX from XXXXX to the date of this decision. Interest on the refund due for XXXXX is calculated from XXXXX to the date of this decision.
It is so ordered.
DATED this 23 day of February, 1994.
BY ORDER OF THE UTAH STATE TAX COMMISSION.
W. Val Oveson Roger O. Tew
Joe B. Pacheco Alice Shearer