This is the story of Wendy Boka’s saga with identity theft and the IRS. Wendy’s husband Brian died in January 2010. After Brian’s death, someone stole his identity and filed a fraudulent tax return in his name. We’re still trying to get the IRS to sort this mess out — all these months later.
Brian and Wendy were native Iowans, but Wendy moved to Texas after Brian’s death. You can find out more about Wendy at her blog, http://www.wendyrebuilding.blogspot.com/. As time allows, Wendy will share her thoughts about the identity theft mess on her blog.
The names are real and are used with Wendy’s permission.
The first notice from the IRS came in late December, 2011. The notice said that Wendy hadn’t filed a 2010 tax return and that the IRS would take collection action against her if she didn’t file the return immediately.
She had, of course, filed a 2010 tax return. I had talked to the IRS about this in August. We had sent them the forms they requested. But now they were saying she hadn’t filed a return.
So I prepared a letter in response to the notice, and mailed it to the IRS. I knew the IRS had received the letter because I sent it certified mail with return receipt. But as usual, we heard nothing back from the IRS … until another notice came in mid-March. The IRS was again threatening to take collection action against Wendy unless she filed her 2010 tax return immediately.
So this time I called the IRS. The collections department was now handling her case, so that is who I talked to. They had no idea about the identity theft. I had to tell them the whole story, from the beginning.
Apparently the conversation I had with the IRS practitioner hotline in August wasn’t documented in anything the collections department could see. And apparently the IRS’s identity theft unit doesn’t talk to the collections department, either.
I asked about the letter I had sent to them in response to the December notice. If they had read that letter, it would have explained everything.
I was told that they had received the letter, but it hadn’t been processed yet. They received the letter in early January. This was the middle of March. Apparently it takes the IRS 9+ weeks to open the mail….
On the bright side, I did get the collections department to put a 60-day hold on further action. I was supposed to call again in mid-May, when the 60 days were up.
They also told me that if I heard anything from the identity theft department in the meantime, I was supposed to call and let the collections department know. Obviously the various departments at the IRS don’t communicate with each other, so I had to act as middleman.
But of course, the 60 days passed quietly, with no contact from anyone at the IRS.
As requested, I called the IRS again in May, at the end of the 60-day period. That was another fun phone call.
(Part 4 will appear on Tuesday.)