Senior Citizen can't get a break.

Good thing Patricia Parsons isn't the procrastinating sort. The Burlington woman could have been branded a tax cheat and sent to prison to mend her criminal ways.

Her story begins innocently enough. This type of story always does.

Law-abiding Parsons filled out her Vermont income tax form, tucked it into the provided envelope, put her return address in the upper left-hand corner, affixed a postage stamp and dropped her annual tithe into the mail.

Civic duty done, income taxes paid, law obeyed, Vermont Department of Taxes beast fed for another year.

That was April 5. Vermont income taxes aren't due until April 18. Parsons was 13 days ahead of the game, a truly solid citizen.

But the story takes a perplexing turn. This type of story always does.

Parsons' income tax came back, like a bad penny, to her mailbox a few days after she'd mailed it.

"REFUSED BY ADDRESSEE. POSTAGE DUE," was plastered over the top of the mailing address.

Parsons' sin? Using a 37-cent stamp. First-class postage rose to 39 cents Jan. 8.

"I'm a senior citizen, so to remember all this ... well sometimes, you don't," Parsons confessed. "Obviously, I wasn't aware it was a 37-cent stamp."

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