Dear State of Maryland,
Ma’m, you are a sneaky little wench!!
Imagine our surprise when we received a $5,610.15 Notice of Intent to Offset.
Hold the phone. What the heck does that even mean!? The State of Maryland was going to offset our tax return [amongst other things] to pay this amount. Um, WHAT!? The last time I was in Maryland, it was for a field trip in 5th grade. My husband lived there as a kid, but again in 2003. So what gives!?
We did what any other person in the world would do – we went to Google. [In our defense, we only did this because due to the time change, the offices in Maryland were already closed for over two hours…] We found forums/websites/advice columns overflowing with people that had the same issue – but reasons for this varied. There were insurance fees, DMV money owed to the state, etc; but we were totally lost as to where my husband fit into the equation. We didn’t have a choice but to go to bed with this thought hanging over our heads like a cloud. Plans for Christmas promptly went flying out of the window, as well as plans for the tax return. It’s crazy how much a little piece of paper can make you feel so incredibly defeated.
Where on EARTH were we going to come up with almost $6 grand? This is the shortest amount of time we’ve spent in a home, how did they get our address so quickly, when we’ve lived other places for a longer amount of time? How has this gone unnoticed for 8 years? Where was the initial document for this??
The next morning my husband was able to get on the phone with the Central Collection Unit and figure out a little more. The run down :: He had a car in Maryland. The state had knowledge of car insurance up to January of 2004; but tags expired in 2005. Here’s the kicker – he moved to Germany [with the car] in November of 2003. So, this fee stemmed from the fee that the State of Maryland charging him for not providing insurance of the time in between. Since he didn’t give proof of insurance, he was not only awarded a penalty for it, but also interest on said penalty. EIGHT YEARS worth of penalties.
The solution was to show proof of the car being insured at the time. I panicked – we sold this particular car almost two years ago. Would we even have the paperwork? Where could it even be!? My husband had left his life behind Maryland quite abruptly, with basically the clothes on his back and a suitcase. It would be a miracle if this paperwork survived the numerous moves back in the states. In the small amount of time we’ve been together [march 2008] we have had over 5 addresses. See why I panicked!?
By the grace of God, my husband had somehow held on to his paperwork. We were confident that this issue would resolve. He scanned and faxed documents immediately, and was on the phone constantly. He called them again this morning, and wouldn’t you know it – “The case is pending review and no further action is required from this account holder”. Talk about the biggest sigh of relief ever.
Long story short – people of Maryland, if you are moving out of state, turn in your tags. Or the state of Maryland will hunt you down 8 years later and give you a heart attack.
Also, we plan on framing the German shipping slip for the car, and the proof of insurance that accompanied it. An almost $6,000 piece of paper? Yeah, that can be framed. No problem.