Thursday, September 18, 2008

Scanner and BOE

In more positive IT news, the new scanner arrived. I spent many hours yesterday scanning and tossing a years worth of invoices. Another day and it should all be finished (although I'm tempted to put the unscanned papers in a box marked "2008").

My problems with the Board of Equalization continue. When we moved they changed the address on our new sales tax license but continued sending payment forms to the old address, a mistake they admit. I never got my monthly forms, so I improvised. One of my customers is a sales tax auditor for the BOE who told me that they don't care about the forms as long as they get their money. Just write it on the back of a napkin for all they care, is what he told me. That's where the problem began.

I didn't use napkins, instead I downloaded the monthly payment form instead of the quarterly payment form (which I couldn't find online). With the monthly form I was paying them the full amount instead of the 90% required amount. I was also paying on the last day of the month instead of the 24th of the month. They actually benefit from this, but there's no excuse for not having the right form. This resulted in them claiming that I was both late and that I didn't file at all. Apparently the wrong form is like no form.

The BOE assessed a bunch of penalties and late fees and late fees on the late fees and penalties, with most of those rescinded when it was finally straightened out (I filed the right form for that). They sent me a letter saying it was cleared up and now they'll be watching me extra carefully. Nice. I had to go back and file the right forms for the first six months of the year, which I've done and it looks like I'm getting money back. They called yesterday to remind me of a $78 penalty that I owed them that was late. Did I want to pay it with my $6,000 of surplus payments not associated with anything? Since I"m getting a refund, did I want to skip this months tax payment? Unbelievable. I feel like my coat is caught in a lawn chipper that's pulling me slowly towards it while I desperately try to pull away.


  1. According to my accountant, the BOE is the one tax organization you don't want to mess with. They'll send a state marshall to stand next to your register and take out cash as it goes into the register until they are paid off. Nice.

    Remember, it's not your money, it's the states...

    My first year owning the store, I was on annual payment basis. It was 1999, the first year Pokemon came out. Like an idiot, I wasn't putting the money aside as I received it. So, when the year was up, I owed something like $50,000 in sales tax - and of course I didn't have that money around. So they allowed me to pay them back over the course of 25 weeks or something. Every Friday, I had to go to the BOE office and give them my $2000 check. It was brutal, but I survived.

  2. I've been careful to get them the amount they're owed each month. This industry has plenty of horror stories like yours.

  3. It is one of the first things that do not get paid when cash is tight or a business is failing. Your BOE customer can tell you lots of horror stories.

    The good thing for your co-owners is that if you don't pay, the BOE can simply take your personal bank accounts. Same with payroll taxes. They also skip right through the entity to anyone who writes checks. Maybe you should hand off check writing to Michael :)

  4. They're pretty content knowing they've got thousands of dollars of my money that doesn't apply to anything. Now they just want their paperwork filled out properly (even though it's their fault I never got it).