Detroit Resident's Tax Generosity Leads to $5,300 Bill

Let the city keep her refund, and then it comes after her for more


Ella Joshua-Dixon was born and raised on Detroit's west side, and it's a city she still loves. So, when she decided to let the city's tax department keep her $500 2011 refund, she thought she was being generous, helping her cash-strapped hometown in her own small way.

That backfired.

The city's income tax division then sent her a letter, saying she owed back taxes, interest and penalties of $5,296 from years as far back as 1999.

By the end of the back-and-forth, the 47-year-old Auburn Hills accountant discovered that the city owed her more than that initial $500.