Kansas City woman sued for not paying city tax she didn’t know existed

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Kansas City woman is furious with the city for suing her for not paying a tax she didn’t even realized existed.

“I’m a taxpayer,” Taitum Kovacs said. “That’s my obligation, and I understand that.”

But what Kovacs doesn’t understand is why Kansas City never notified her that for six years she had failed to pay the city’s 1 percent earnings tax before filing suit and loading on nearly $2,000 in penalties and interest to the total bill.

Kovacs discovered the city had tried to contact her, but it was at an address where she hasn’t lived for seven years.

“I pay property taxes here,” said Kovacs, a homeowner. “My vehicles are registered here, my driver's license, my taxes. I even have divorce records that have this address. If that's the most recent information they have, they really weren't trying very hard.”

Kovacs is more than willing to pay the more than $2,000 in taxes she owes but doesn’t feel she should be fined penalties and interest for what she views as an honest mistake.

Taitum Kovacs

Kansas City spokesman Chris Hernandez said the city only has a handful of auditors tracking thousands of delinquent taxpayers. He said ultimately the taxpayer is responsible to make sure taxes are paid.

But here’s why FOX4 Problem Solvers sympathized with Kovacs’ plight. She doesn’t do her own taxes. She pays H&R Block to do them for her. So why didn’t H&R Block catch this mistake?

CPA Kelly Taylor said the tax pro at H&R Block should have known about the earnings tax, particularly since H&R Block is based in Kansas City.

Problem Solvers contacted H&R Block. It agreed that mistakes were made by Kovacs’ tax preparer who works for the company from her home base in Georgia.

“In this isolated incident, the tax professional didn`t follow the policy and procedures for working with a client remotely,” H&R Block said in a statement.

Here’s the good news, H&R Block told Kovacs not to worry. It would take care of any penalties and fees. That’s a huge relief to Kovacs, and she hopes a warning to anyone else working or living in Kansas City.

Make sure you’re paying your earnings tax or you could be in for an expensive surprise.