Tricky tax refund finally comes through

A Pelham Gardens resident can rest easy after it appeared that her full state tax refund would not arrive, all due to a paperwork mixup.

Anita Rossi, who lives at Bouck Avenue between Mace and Waring avenues, was alarmed to receive a check for as little as one tenth of what her New York State tax refund had been the year before.

Once she sent back a number of forms, another check arrived, for around the same amount.

Together, the checks still brought her nowhere near the refund she expected.

She contacted the NY State Department of Tax and Finance.

The problem, it turned out, rested on Rossi’s daughter, Brienna, who lives with her and attends school at P.S. 108.

The tax department wanted proof that Rossi’s daughter resides in the house.

“They said I didn’t send proof of her address,” recalled Rossi. “But they had never asked me to do that. I told them, ‘What mail does this kid get anyway, she’s only six!’ The guy said maybe a letter from her doctor, or her school.”

Rossi couldn’t find such documentation. She also was concerned — why did they demand proof of adress when just the year before Rossi had received her refund with no problems?

“The only thing I have is proof of her father’s Social Security benefits, because he passed away when she was three,” she said.

Rossi’s late husband had been a Vietnam veteran and died only a few years before.

Rossi said she spent an hour on the phone, trying to convince them of her daughter’s residence.

“Finally he said, ‘Let me transfer you to our audit department,’ and once they transferred me, I got disconnected! I said, you know what, I’m not dealing with this anymore,” Rossi said, trying to stay calm just remembering the aggravating experience.

“For a single parent, it’s hard enough, trying to live on Social Security and the little things I do here and there,” she said.

Rossi turned to Senator Jeff Klein’s office. Klein had helped her neighbors in the past, and she asked them to get her the refund she deserved, and help prove her daughter’s address.

Klein’s office contacted Tax and Finance to determine what could be done that would get Rossi her correct refund. They provided the documentation, and by the second week of July, Rossi had the corrected check in hand.

“Sometimes it feels like everything is a fight for me. I had no proof, so what was I going to do? But I had to fight and get the full amount,” she said with resolve.

And now Rossi is already anticipating another issue she’ll struggle with. She wants to enroll Brienna at the new Van Nest School opening up this coming fall.

“But apparently my daughter won’t be eligible because of the zone. That’ll be my next fight, I’ll probably have to call Senator Klein’s office for that too!”

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