I returned from a 6 day trip to New Orleans last night and had certified mail today from the Louisiana Department of Labor. The letter said “Unemployment Taxes. Notice of Intent to Assess”, and was a bill for taxes, interest and penalty due for the 3rd quarter of 2005. This letter was sent to my devastated office in New Orleans from Baton Rouge and postmarked on January 27th. It was forwarded to my PO Box in Austin on 2/20/06 and arrived in Austin sometime between 2/24 and 3/2 while I was away.
I called today and found out that they had put a letter out for the mail today that was being sent to the Clerk of Court to place a lien on my home and my business. I fortunately was able to ask them to pull the letter and avoid having the lien placed. I also called my friends at a local newspaper and TV station and told them this story. IT IS OBVIOUSLY TOO EARLY TO BE PLACING LIENS ON PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALREADY LOST SO MUCH. There were tens of thousands of people who lost their small businesses, probably owe some taxes for their employees for the 3rd quarter, and like me also don’t have their staff to take care of these sorts of things. As it turns out, the person who used to do this for me, did do it for me after the flooding, but the online system that he usually uses to pay the tax was down, so he paid the other things like Federal and State withholding, but wasn’t able to pay state unemployment that we took out of the checks. Someone at the Louisiana Department of Labor needs to be held accountable and so does our Governor for making this premature decision.