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S.C. tax returns dead-end in office

Oops.

Dozens of unprocessed state tax returns dating to 2006 were found stuffed in a drawer in an employee's desk at the S.C. Department of Revenue after the employee left her job recently.

The incident was confirmed Wednesday by a department spokeswoman, who declined to identify the employee or say why she had left her job, citing workplace privacy concerns.

"Several dozen" forms - along with uncashed checks - were found, said agency spokeswoman Adrienne Fairwell.

But she stressed no taxpayer whose unprocessed forms were found in the drawer will suffer.

"There's no reason the taxpayer should be penalized," she said.

No information was immediately available on the total amount of checks involved. But various types of tax returns - including individual, sales and corporate - were in the drawer, Fairwell said.

If the department levied any penalties, liens or interest on those forms, she said, "We will definitely be expunging liens and deleting all penalties and interest that are due on those particular returns."

March 10, 2006, was the oldest postmark found, Fairwell said.

Fairwell said the employee in question was one of some 125 workers in the agency's processing division, which handles incoming tax returns and checks and forwards them to other divisions.

The division is located in a building off Bush River Road, she said. The building is not open to the public, and the agency generally does not disclose its exact location, she said.

In all, the revenue department has about 640 employees.

Fairwell said the department doesn't think any checks were cashed for anyone's personal use or that any confidentiality has been compromised.

And the agency doesn't think this has happened before.

"As far as we know, this is an extraordinary situation," she said.

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