Incorrect letters demanding thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes sent to hundreds of GA retirees

ATLANTA — Some Georgia retirees are getting collection letters from the state demanding thousands of dollars of unpaid taxes.

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The letters are real, but the tax debts are not.

Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray was at the Georgia Department of Revenue headquarters Friday, where he’s been reaching out to the state for the last two days trying to get answers.


Within the past hour, Gray confirmed with the Department of Revenue that a software error sent out incorrect tax collection notices to at least 1,100 Georgia retirees.

For more than two decades, Jim Strickland investigated Georgia consumer problems. He’s a familiar face, Gray’s predecessor as Channel 2 Consumer Investigator.

Strickland called Gray about a letter he received from the Georgia DOR, saying he owned more than $2,500 in unpaid 2023 taxes and penalties.

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“The letter has no explanation. It doesn’t say why, it just says pay,” Strickland said.

Strickland isn’t the only one to get the collection letter or reach out to Gray with concerns. A Georgia retiree who didn’t want to be on camera got a collection letter for more than $7,000.

“Well, my first thought is, ‘Why would you get a letter from the DOR two months after you file your taxes?’ It’s probably not good news, and it wasn’t,” he said.

“The first time I called, their phones were so busy I couldn’t even go on hold. The computer told me to call back later,” Strickland said.

The State Department of Revenue acknowledged their error when Channel 2 Action News started asking questions, saying:

“This was the result of a tax database software error that occurred when transposing a small portion of paper filings into the tax system. The Department has identified the issue and has begun the process of reviewing and correcting the accounts of those affected.”

When Strickland finally did get ahold of someone at DOR, they cleared the debt in a matter of minutes.

“As soon as she said, ‘We’ve been getting a lot of calls,’ that’s when I called you,” Strickland said. “Because I had a feeling, ‘How many people are getting this letter? I think a lot.’”

Retired but still thinking like a consumer investigator, Strickland worries about other retirees.

“I think a lot of folks might be scared of the tax man and just blindly write a check,” Strickland said. “How fair is that?”

The Department of Revenue said they are looking to fix the error in the next two weeks and they will be sending correction notices to all the retirees affected.

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