Let me start by categorically stating that this post is in no way intended to diminish the work done by field agents and others whose job it is to enforce submission of NC sales, wage, and income taxes. Their job is necessary and in many cases, thankless.
Rather, my gripe is with the larger concept of "the state", and how often double standards apply. For example, the state legislature has the power to encourage or discourage tort cases in the legal system, yet is exempt in most cases from being sued by citizens.
And now, with the current NC budget crisis, the State is delaying tax refunds as they wait for other taxes to be remitted-- to cover the cost of the refunds. Put the shoe on the other foot. To my knowledge, there are automatic penalties and interest assessed to individuals and businesses who not remit their state taxes in a timely manner. I do not believe the NC Dept. of Revenue offers a payment plan for business entities in arrears, as does the IRS, and getting interest and penalties waived is no easy matter.
On the other hand, the State seems perfectly content with delaying the money due its citizens; and we are not being paid interest or penalties while the government holds on to our money. Having worked in an industry where a garnishment from the Dept. of Revenue can wipe out an account in a matter of seconds, this seems grossly unfair. In short, a business or an individual having "cash flow" problems through poor management of their finances would not be afforded the same opportunity to get back on track as the State has utilized to cover their own misspending and financial ineptitude.
One might argue that people who over withhold are not subject to special treatment, but we all know given the complexity of the tax code, there is no way for an individual or a business to withhold the exact amount they owe in taxes over the course of the year. Underpayment can trigger penalties, so most individuals play it safe and over contribute.
When government blatantly creates a double-standard in their behavior, one wonders why the citizenry is so docile and takes such behavior in stride. Certainly, there should be more anger, hopefully expressed at the polls next election than we are witnessing today.