SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A California man’s state tax refund was heavily garnished over a parking ticket from a city he’s never been to, for a car he’s never owned.
Michael Gardner drives a Chrysler, and has for the past nine years. He also says he’s never been to the Southern California city of Inglewood.
But, the franchise tax board took 80-percent of his state tax refund because of a parking ticket from the city of Inglewood, for a blue four-door Honda.
“I never owned a Honda in my life, there’s no chance at all that it’s me,” Gardner said.
After explaining his situation to the tax board, he was told he would have to wait up to four months before he can get the money back.
Tax attorney Steve Packey says the law requires the agency to warn citizens in writing thirty days before garnishing money.
“I never got a notice. I read every piece of mail, even the junk mail,” Gardner said.
The city of Inglewood blamed an error, saying that a notice had been sent, but it had gone to the wrong address. Gardner got his money back after just two weeks, but the experience left him upset.
“I think it’s wrong. I don’t want other people to have to go through this,” Gardner said.
The franchise tax board says that not many people go through what Gardner has experienced. The franchise tax board admits it has garnished the wrong person’s taxes just four times in the last two years.