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Oklahoma Tax Commission adjustment letters need human scrutiny, experts say.

Midwest City tax preparer Sean Reed reports more and erroneous adjustment letters from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. But this year is no different than usual, the agency says.
by Paula Burkes Published: June 29, 2014

A Midwest City tax preparer said more than a dozen of his clients over the past few weeks have received letters from the Oklahoma Tax Commission mistakenly requesting payments as high as several thousand dollars in supposed underpaid income taxes that his clients didn’t owe.

Sean Reed of Reed’s Tax Service said OTC officials promptly corrected the mistakes and most of the returns in question were left as originally filed.

“My concern is that taxpayers could be receiving these erroneous adjustment letters and, especially if only $100 or less is owed, just pay it,” Reed said. “Many taxpayers incorrectly assume that if they question the OTC or IRS (Internal Revenue Service), they’ll risk a future audit or land on some list.”

OTC spokeswoman Paula Ross said the agency didn’t mail any more adjustment letters than usual this year. Ross also said it’s typical for some adjustment letters to be incorrect.

Shirley Blankenship of Del City said she on June 4 received a letter dated May 27 from the Oklahoma Tax Commission, stating she owed $2,458, including some $400 in penalties and interest, and to remit a minimum of $819 by June 10. When Reed’s firm followed up on Blankenship’s behalf, the some $2,500 was adjusted to $163.

“People get scared about this stuff,” said Blankenship, a 57-year-old widow and General Motors retiree.

Unlike the adjustment letters from the IRS, the OTC letters, Reed said, don’t provide explanations, such as missing documentation or inconsistencies between reported and claimed amounts. “Taxpayers or preparers have to call to understand why adjustments are being made,” he said.

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by Paula Burkes
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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