Despite delay, taxpayers still must pay

Despite delay, taxpayers still must pay

There are 231 comments on the The Advocate story from Apr 22, 2006, titled Despite delay, taxpayers still must pay. In it, The Advocate reports that:

JoAnn Karagianes of Norwalk couldn't believe it when she opened her mailbox this week and discovered she owed the city of Stamford $420.16 in unpaid car taxes.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Advocate.

Barry

Honolulu, HI

#21 Feb 11, 2007
Hit after 14 years in San Diego, CA. I had left the state in 1991 and never actually owned the vehicle during stated years, proving it will not be an easy task. I paid to protect my credit.

This isn't incompetence, it is a partnership with an out-of-state collection agency and a revenue program at the expense of what appears to be primarily former residents. I never received any notice from the City, I had the appropriate mail forwarding requirements filed.
BJN

Tucson, AZ

#22 Feb 16, 2007
I also moved away from the state of CT in 1993, and was sent a tax bill of $333.00, mostly interest on a bill I NEVER recieved until it went to collections. This is obviously a common problem all of a sudden. I have never received a bill until 14 years after incurring the expense. I didn't even live in Stamford in 1993, the year for which I am being billed. I lived in Greenwich. This is unfair and I am going to fight it. I think we should all band together and fight it because it is not fair!
the realist

North Brunswick, NJ

#23 Feb 16, 2007
tretter;

you ignorant slut.

stamford is a spend and tax town.

they overspend on a daily basis and expect us to pay.

take a look at the new school on clairol property;
state builds it, anyone from anytown gets in, and stamford taxpayers maintain it.

Kids (oh, save the children!) from other cities and towns pay $0 for what my tax money maintains.

tell me how this is fair when i cant get a modified tax bill for a car sold after 3 months.

BY THE WAY I KNOW WHO YOU ARE.........
wanna go public?
katie

AOL

#24 Feb 16, 2007
everyone just ignore the bills....and dont worry about your credit report...a debt can only be reported within the first 7 years of when it was due. However, if you partially pay or promise to pay at this time and then don't it can go on your credit report now.

If stamford needed the money they should have collected it when it was due.
Lisa

Milford, MA

#25 Feb 19, 2007
We live in MA and received a tax bill from the city of Stamford from a collection agency from Norwell, MA. They said we owed 2 years of taxes when my husband lived as a renter in Stamford in 1996. The tax bill was for 1997 and 1998.
My husband moved from stamford,CT to the Dc/VA area
in late January 1997.

The only document we could produce was his 1997 Federal Tax and state Return. All the DMV office purge this data after 5 years. Try looking for cancelled checks as well but banks were merged so much in the 1990's. Impossible to produce a cancelled check - again we shredded old documents after 7 years.

The IRS tax document proved that my husban was a resident of another state for the time period when the CIty of Stamford stated he owed taxes.

THE collection agency told us we did not owe for 1998 but how do we want to pay for 1997. We restated he was not a resident of the city of Stamford when the July 1997 tax bills were due, therefore do not owe taxes to the CIty of Stamford. We have not heard anything from the collection agency since November 06.

When he moved, he filled out all the proper paperwork with the post office and THe city of Stamford could have contacted him. We purchased four houses since then and nothing was noted on any credit report. If this was such an issue for the City of Stamford, why did'nt they add a note to the credit report, they have the SSN of the tax holder.

We believe that the City of Stamford wrote this problem off and then someone got the idea to hire a collection agency to collect the back taxes. I wonder what type of promotion he or she received.
The City of Stamford should work on fixing the # unregistered cars and not harass good people that moved out or state.
katie

AOL

#26 Feb 19, 2007
Lisa..I agree with you. One problem is that if someone moves out of state and forgets to change their auto registration they are considered to still live in Stamford. I checked on the credit reporting and Stamford can only report a debt to the credit report agencies within a 7 year period of when it is due. the only way they can report it now is if you set up a payment plan with the collection agency and don't make good on it. I have not heard from the agency since Dec 06 and plan to ignore any subesquent phone calls or mail if they happen. I think they know this is a lost cause unless they intimidate people into paying.
ex stamford resident

United States

#27 Feb 19, 2007
From the article:
The city has long used an outside vendor to find delinquent taxpayers, but never had much luck reaching people who moved out of town until now, because the previous vendor lacked the technology to track them down, Barnes said.

"Lacked the technology"? All it would have taken was an Internet connection!

I received a bill from the collections agency last month for motor vehicle taxes from 1999-2000. I moved out of Stamford in late 1999. When I called the Stamford tax collector's office, the woman I spoke with said that Collections Co of America was the third agency they'd hired. Well, I said, the previous ones must have been incompetent as I haven't been difficult to find, having never had an unlisted phone number or address and having faithfully filed forwarding notices with the post office. Yes, the woman said, they were; that's why we fired them.

Great. So I'm being billed interest at 18% a year because of the city's deficient hiring practices.

I will be writing a letter to the Connecticut AG, if the collections agency ever sends me the proof of debt that I requested via certified mail several weeks ago. I will also notify various consumer-affairs reporters, and suggest that others similarly affected do the same. The city must be willing to bear the consequences of its decision, which should include publicity of the matter.
Jane

Silver Spring, MD

#28 Feb 21, 2007
I'm having exactly the same problem with the city of New Haven. It's the same story--I lived there in 1995-1996. I moved to another state, and that state no longer has my car registration information. I never received a bill, and all my mail was forwarded to me. I would have paid the bill if New Haven had sent it to me in 1996 or 1997. The interest is outrageous. Katie, can you provide an exact reference for the fact that (1) the debt must be reported within 7 years of the original bill and (2) after 15 years nobody can touch you? Thank you.
Jane

Silver Spring, MD

#29 Feb 21, 2007
Also, do you have a reference for your statement that collection agencies can't sue?
katie

AOL

#30 Feb 22, 2007
Jane,

I did a lot of googling, i.e. collection agency policies. Check that for my collection agency statements. Also, the CT Gov't office of Policy told me the statue of limitation is 15 years for these debts. They can still try to collect but you are no longer legally responsible.

I agree...had I been billed in the years of the tax due I would have paid but now I just don't believe the original calculations and outrageous interest charges and collection agency fees. I have never heard of a debtor not trying to collect the money first before turning it over to an agency. My feeling is if they didnt try to collect then they must not have needed the money. I am swamped with 2007 expenses and won't be put into financial hardship over their errors.

PS apparently tax bills are not forwarded. Funny...the IRS and State governments don't operate that way and would track you down!
Jane

Silver Spring, MD

#31 Feb 22, 2007
Thank you.

I hope that the attorney general will do something about this.
sally

Cincinnati, OH

#32 Feb 28, 2007
You- mr.rtretter, clearly have not recieved a letter from the CCA collection agency. I have just been informed of a late payment for taxes on my car, even though I have not lived in CT for five years. I have given proof to the collection agency that I have paid these taxes, and they say my proof is valid. The collection agency tells me I should pay the bill anyway, even though I am justified with my claim dispute. They say even though I have this proof, the City of Stamford will not erase this debt..this is no longer an honest way to collect taxes from citizens. This seems to be a scam, and I do plan on contacting the Attorney General...I'm sure this too will fall on deaf ears.
Harry - Lexington KY

Cincinnati, OH

#33 Feb 28, 2007
I am shocked to see the amount of correspondence on this subject and the number of people who are affected by this outrageous behaviour. As an ex CT resident who thought all my taxes were paid - this is a despicable and blatant attempt to frighten the little man in the street to be responsible for some local governments inneficiencies - let alone alone their outright error. They cannnot seem to prove that these monies are owing.

I want to make a proposal to all those out there who feel they have been wronged by this local government behavior, with a proposal that we try to interest a "Class Action Lawyer" to takeup our cause and start a class action legal suit against the City of Stamford Connecticut for the following reasons:
1. They are harrassing you without clear proof of indebtedness.
2. They are besmirching your credit record and credit rating, by allowing some credit agency to maintain that you owe money - which you may not in fact do. Some of you out there may in fact owe some money - but the City has a duty to tell you that, and to act in a more professional and courteous way.
3. Any other consequences arising from the fact that your credit rating is being affected by these matters.
4. The fact that it costs time, effort and money to respond - and if necessary to hire a lawyer to act for you.

The only way to get their attention is to start a class action suit against the City of Stamford. I cant see the City getting any sympathy in Court from a fair and balanced jury of citizens.

One thing I now know for sure - I will never live within the confines of the City of Stamford again. I have better choices.
katie

Brooklyn, NY

#34 Mar 1, 2007
but to clarify..city of stamford can only report the debt to the credit agency within the first 7 years so for most of us our credit reports are not being effected. also i am not being harassed by the collection agency we spoke in November and i haven't heard from them again. You can basically ignore them and they will go away. I would rather not have my name (that is my real name) attached to any lawsuit because the $ amount is very high and would put me in financial hardship. I do agree this is a terrible thing and a lawyer should get involved.
Lisa

Milford, MA

#35 Mar 4, 2007
FYI to all the postings. I have contacted the Attorney General's office of CT and they have no jurisdication over this matter with the City of Stamford. As for the postings to say to ignore it, you will do yourself a disservice. Do your homework, have your facts correct. Each state is different. I spoke to the Attorney General's office in MA and they suggested to file a complaint with them because CCA is located in NOrwell, MA with supporting documentations. THE AG's office was very helpful and will assist with no promises.

The easiest way to resolve your issue is to pull a car fax report on your car, you can get the VIN number from the CIty of Stamford and that is the only proof they will accept. Frustrating but True.

I did speak to a nice person in the CT Law Library and found some state statue's to assist with this matter.

Good Luck.
katie

AOL

#36 Mar 7, 2007
I do have my facts straight and have even been advised my someone who owns a major collection agency to ignore it. The collection agency is pretty powerless and in my case 2 of the years they want are past the statue of limitations. I am an honest person and pay my bills but expect to be billed properly and within a reasonable amount of time. Had I been billed properly back then I would have gladly paid. Now in 2007 I no longer have the financial resources to take care of this..especially with all the penalties, interest and collection fees. I have heard from others the city and CCA will not negotiate. So for me there is nothing to gain working with the AG's offices but bringing attention to my situtation and being forced to make payment and then experience financial hardship, i.e. bankruptcy. I wish you the best with working with the MA AG and please let us know what happens. I think enough people are complaining about this situation that something positive may happen.
bc4now

Fort Collins, CO

#37 Mar 13, 2007
Well this was an interesting message board to find! And thank you! I'm just one more frustrated voice in the crowd, I know, but I received a bill for $450.00 on a car that I had traded in when I bought another one at a Saturn dealership to in CT and moved out to CO in 1997. Well, I've never traded a car in before and I had no idea that I still owed taxes on it. The sent me 2 bills one for the car I traded in and another for the car I bought. Well I bought it and moved within the month and I get a bill for $90.00 for that car? The original amount of the tax on the other traded in car was $70.00. And if I really do owe these taxes that 's fine. I just wish they didn't wait until now to tell me. I left a forwarding address and I NOW get a notice that with penalties I owe $ 450.00? WHAT? I did write back the Credit Agency infuriated. Why was this the first time I heard about this? And where is the proof? I get a letter back with the 2 outragous bills and another page attached that said that one or two of the bills may be cancelled if I could provide proof of the first registration for each vehicle?? And an officiall MV letterhead showing the original registration date AND info from CARFAX or AUTOCHECK proving the registration date prior to Oct. 1 start of the list year? Are they kidding me? Well where am I going to get the one that for the vehicle I traded in over 10 years ago? Why am I paying for these services? And if this is such a big problem for the City of Stamford, why won't they take the original taxes that people are willing to pay? Instead of holding out for all the unfair penalties? Bureaucracy and red tape at it's best I guess. Well thanks for reading this and any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Carla

North Brunswick, NJ

#38 Mar 13, 2007
Hi - i was wondering if you were able to resolve this or did youhave to pay the full amount? I also received a "first notice" bill for car tax from 8 yars ago - intrest is over $800. I don't have any records that go back that far to show i paid it but i am more concrened about haiving to pay the interest.
katie

AOL

#39 Mar 14, 2007
from what i see the collection agency is not being persistent about collecting these "past due taxes" probably because they have no legal grounds....so just don't pay anything. see all my other posts
Talk2theHand

United States

#41 Mar 30, 2007
Hey there - I realize this thread is old, but in the event it gets pulled up on search, I thought I'd add two cents.
I lived in Norwich Connecticut for the better part of 20 years and ALWAYS found the city to be incredibly sloppy record-keepers. So sloppy that I got in the habit of going by City Hall in person before every single trip to the DMV: just to make sure I wouldn't be refused once I got there to register a car. I am being hounded by an agency now who says I owe Norwich $1000 - from July, 2003 - in delinquent MV taxes.
Now I moved OUT of Norwich in Spring 2003. I knew they wouldn't forward the tax bill, so in Spring 2004 - after I had sold the 'offending auto'- before I went to DMV to register my new car, I went BACK to Norwich; paid my delinquent taxes and received written confirmation that I was paid in full. At the time, I ALSO asked if their records showed me having cars garaged at my old address: and they said no, that they showed no cars at all for me.
In November 2006 I bought another car. Even tho I hadn't lived in Norwich for 3 YEARS, I went down to ask the same question. They said I had no cars garaged in Norwich and that I owed no back taxes: and they gave me ANOTHER written confirmation.
So NOW, all of a sudden, this collection agency says I owe Norwich $1100. From 2003. They might not know it, but they stand a better chance of booking passage to Mars then they do collecting that money from me. Sue me: I'm on Social Security Disability, which is 100% judgement-exempt. Report it to the credit bureau: hell, report it to all THREE credit bureaus. I'll just send in copies of those slips signed by the Norwich Tax Collector's Clerk saying I don't owe Norwich one thin dime!
But if any of you folks are still wondering WHY this is happening, I finally found out. The State of Connecticut passed a law in 2004 which allows them (the State) to send a bill to all the Cities and Towns that assess their own MV taxes to help defray the costs incurred by Conn MVD for witholding registrations for delinquent taxes. Each City / Town had two options: they could PAY the bill: or they could ignore it. If they ignored it, the DMV would no longer accept their delinquent tax reports - or prevent the registrations from being renewed.(This makes perfect sense: Norwich would be so stupid as to not pay the bill and then have to pay collections agencies to recoup lost revenue.)
Anyway: once these ridiculous Cities and Towns found they HAD to resort to hiring Collection Agencies anyway - for in-state, relatively recent back taxes - it seemed logical to them to try and recoup whatever they could for long-past due taxes and taxes owed by people who had moved! Once these towns started going through records that old, they were bound to screw up and it looks like they did: in spades!
And that, my friends, is the rest of the story!

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