California Chronicles

The California Chronicles

I lived in California for about eight years. I began in The City in the Marina District than crossed over to the East Bay for the lovely island of Alameda. Eventually, I scooted down the coast to Marina Del Rey. I enjoyed Northern California more than Southern California but overall my years in Cali were pretty awesome. It was the first time I was truly on my own and I found when you don't have people around you with preconceived notions about who you are, you get to figure it out for yourself.

Two things I didn't love about Cali - the state income tax and the cost of living. For what I paid for a one bedroom apartment there, I had a four bedroom house here in Texas. What I spent in a week for groceries there, lasts a month here in Texas.

All that being said, I left California with mixed emotions. My father had passed away and BougieMom needed an anchor. The job market in California was whiffy and I had a great offer back in Texas. I had friends in both places and the guy I was dating traveled a lot so it didn't really matter where I landed. I can't say I've truly settled back into Texas in the ten years I've been back. A part of me is always kind of wondering if I'll eventually head back west and settle back on the Bay.

All my warm fuzzies about California went straight to hell in a handbasket last Friday. I was on a conference call when my cell phone and tablet started blowing up. That only happens if some entity is texting and emailing at the same time. I glanced at an email to see my bank informing me that all of my bank balances were at zero. I blinked twice. Say what now? All of them? At the same time? How does that happen?

I called into Chase and they told me to call the FTB (California Tax Nazis). After two hours of trying to get through, finally Craig answered and told me all of my assets were frozen because I owed the State of California money from 2003. Really? To simplify: turns out the shiesty company I worked for had merged with a large company and in order to hide assets reported that they paid every employee at headquarters a bonus of $15,000 in 2003. Um... no. I think I would have remembered that.

This company filed adjusted W-2s for all 217 employees (without our knowledge). Now here's where it's clearly some shiggity. The IRS looked at it, called bullshiggity and let it go. The State of California said it's up to the taxpayers to prove they didn't get the money and in the meantime, they want the taxes and penalties owed on it. And since they swear they couldn't find me, they found my assets and froze them. :-/ Funny how the IRS knows where I am, does the Federal Government not talk to California? 

I had questions for Craig. Why now? Isn't there a statute of limitations and how can I prove that I never received the money? Craig went on to explain that as far as state and federal government went, you owe what you owe even after you die. I can appeal this but in the meantime I have to make a payment to unfreeze my assets. This, my friends, is called a jack. Give us money and we'll give you yours back. SMH.

To Chase's credit (they were awesome during this) they said if I needed to do anything over the weekend, all I had to do was call and they would authorize the transaction on my debit card. And they unfroze everything by Monday afternoon. Wilma, a friend who worked at the same company said Cali did the same thing to her and put a lien against her house. She was at the gas station trying to fill up her car when her funds were jacked. Now that's just gangster.

I believe this has cured my longing to return to California to live any time soon. 

Who has filed their income taxes already? Any drama you care to share? Californians - what's wrong with your tax board?