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Bookkeeping at The Wall Street Journal

Monday 5/20/24

We'll be getting into matters on the editorial side of things at The Wall Street Journal, but here's a letter I had to write this morning to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue because of the multi-year problem/nightmare created for me--with all of the stress and the huge amounts of time and energy it has sucked from my life--courtesy of The Wall Street Journal's bookkeeping. I had mentioned, one will recall, that an editor at The Wall Street Journal mocked me about this.


A quick summary of the matter that will hopefully will now be resolved on account of the enclosed form and the copy of the correspondence/notification from the IRS.


One of my employers—The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by the Dow Jones—sent an incorrect 1099-form to the IRS in which they added two zeroes to my 2019 income with them. My actual income with the Dow Jones for that year was (). They had sent me a 1099-misc form with this correct amount, but sent one to the IRS that instead had () instead of ().


That they had done so was, of course, unbeknownst to me. I entered the correct amount, which was also the amount on the form I had received, in my taxes for the year of 2019.


The IRS, as one would expect, saw this discrepancy and let me know about it. I got in touch with Dow Jones. They confirmed that they did make this error in sending me a form with the correct amount and the IRS one with a very incorrect amount.


A corrected 1099-misc form was then sent to the IRS, which they confirmed receiving in January 2022.


I assumed that the problem was now resolved. I did not hear from the IRS again again. Later, though, I did hear from you folks at the Department of Revenue, saying that you’d learned of this discrepancy via the IRS. I then sent you the correspondence from the IRS in which they said they had my corrected 1099-form.


That, as I learned this spring, did not resolve the matter, because when I saw the problem was ongoing with the state, I thought I should get back in touch with the IRS.


Here is what happened. As I’ve said, and they said, the IRS received my corrected 1099-misc form in January 2022. But what they didn’t do was get it to the right place within their organization and enter it into their files. For more than two years, it sat in the wrong place.


I stayed on the phone while someone at the IRS went and physically found the form.


That was in March. A few weeks passed, and then I received the letter you see enclosed saying that the issue was resolved and I didn’t actually owe the IRS any money. My understanding was that this information would be shared with the Department of Revenue, since it was that sharing that brought the Department of Revenue in on the matter in the first place.


Then I received another notification from the Department of Revenue this May saying that the issue was not resolved, as the IRS had obviously not relayed anything. I phoned the Department of Revenue asking what to do and I was told to fill out the Abatement form and to enclose the IRS's letter from April.


I hope that’s clear.



Colin Fleming


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