Anyone have experience reinstating a forfeited business?

Not sure this is the correct subreddit but…

I'm gonna put this first part in a nutshell. I opened a business in 2012 (it was to be an online only consulting business) – and then didn't do anything with it because I ended up moving out of state (TX) unexpectedly a few months later. A few months after that got divorced, picked up the pieces of my broken life, moved back to TX. Started everything over, got remarried three years later, stable job, etc. Things are great.


Fast forward to now. I totally ignored that business and didn't pay any franchise tax on it – I know horrible, irresponsible, my bad. So I'm trying to fix that and reinstate the business to either: dissolve it or use the entity in a new business venture.


The Deets: I sent Franchise Tax forms in for 2013-2017 to the SOS as was missing with $50 penalty fee for each year for filing late, so with a check for $250. I earned 0 revenue the entire time. So all that was due was the forms saying so and the penalty for being late.


This should result in a form that says I'm free and clear of any and all tax called a Tax Clearance Letter. I waited and didn't receive one or at least I thought so…


I called the SOS (secretary of state/comptrollers office) to see what was up and they said I owed $1300 on 2013 because if you don't file after four years they make a "guess" at earnings – and they usually charge you that (wtf). So they won't release a tax clearance letter. I haven't seen this anywhere, or a bill for this mystery $1300 but whatever. I hang up feeling defeated and I go out to check my mail that day. In the mail is a Tax Clearance Letter…???!!


The tax clearance letter states verbatim:

"The referenced entity has met all franchise tax requirements and is eligible for reinstatement through 05/15/2018."


What gives?? Am I in debt or not?


So we send this letter (well a copy of this letter) in with a request for reinstatement form and I get a call from the SOS's office saying I still owe for 2013. I tell her, I sent IN a tax clearance letter.. she says she doesn't see it.. or that what she has is NOT evidence I'm paid off.


I'm confused. Does anyone have any experience with this? Or know who I should contact to get help?


The last call I made was back to the SOS's office – got a different person who was as confused as I am, she told me to file online again and upload the tax clearance letter. I did that, but not sure it will result in anything different…


Do I need a tax lawyer? Will one even care about this "measly" $1300. Should I pay it or stick to my guns? I know it's my fault for filing late, I was naive, and trying to take responsibility – but this seems shady…


Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!


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