Taxpayer Identity Theft — Part 10

I’ve been telling the story of Wendy Boka and the identity theft nightmare she’s going through with the IRS. Her husband Brian died at age 31 in 2010. Someone stole his identity and filed a fraudulent tax return in his name.

The IRS still has not processed Brian and Wendy’s final joint tax return for 2010.

Brian and Wendy were native Iowans. After Brian died, Wendy — a widow at age 29 — moved to Texas. The names are real and are used with Wendy’s permission.

You can read the other parts of this series here: 12345678, 9


(This is a continuation of Part 9, posted earlier today. I decided to break Part 9 into two segments, to make it easier to read.)

Friday Call, Part 2

At least on the second call we got through to a representative whose computer was working.

The rep told us that when we submitted the Form 14039 (affidavit of identity theft) to the IRS, we put the form in Wendy’s name. But the IRS thinks the form should have been in Brian’s name, because technically it was his identity that was stolen, not Wendy’s.

They are insistent that we send them another Form 14039, in Brian’s name this time, along with a copy of Brian’s Social Security Card.

Note that all we are trying to do is get the IRS to process Brian and Wendy’s 2010 tax return and have them send Wendy the refund she is owed from that return, so she can finally put a painful year (2010) to rest.

Common Sense Too Much To Ask

I pointed out that the IRS’s demands are ridiculous. It’s blatantly obvious that the 2010 tax return that we submitted in April 2011 is a “right and proper” return.

The return we submitted shows Brian and Wendy filing together under a filing status of married filing jointly, same as the prior 5 or 6 years. The income sources are the same as in prior years. I am listed as the paid preparer, same as in prior years. So can’t the IRS use common sense and just pay this poor widow her tax refund?

I then proceeded to point out that it’s been 33 months since Brian died, 18 months since we filed the tax return, and 12+ months since we sent the original Form 14039 to the IRS. Again, can’t they use common sense and wrap this up?

The answer was, no.

They must have the Form 14039 and Brian’s Social Security Card before they can proceed.

And then this fascinating tidbit came out of the rep’s mouth: “Once we receive the form, it could take up to 200 days to process.”

Apparently the awkward silence that followed (I was too angry to even force words out of my mouth) caused the rep to clarify by saying that it might “only” take 90 days, since they already had a lot of our information on file.

Right. Somehow I think 90 days will pass and the IRS will have no clue what’s happening.

I would like to point out: we sent the original Form 14039 last fall. The IRS decided in September 2012 that they needed the form to be in Brian’s name, not Wendy’s.

And they tried calling Wendy in September to tell her to send a revised form. But this was unsuccessful because they dialed an old, out-of-service number. And with that, they apparently gave up.


Paperwork More Important Than People

So I guess here’s the thing to know about the IRS’s opinion of “helping” people who have been the victim of identity theft: paperwork trumps common sense.

Paperwork is more important than people.

“This blog post, along with comments that may follow, should not be considered tax advice. Before you make final tax or financial decisions, please secure a professional tax advisor to give you advice about your unique situation. To secure Jason as your accountant, please click on the ‘Services’ link at the top of the page.”


  1. Thomas Allen, EA says

    I am representing a client whom has had his identity stolen. I did some researching before I made any moves and am glad that I stumbled across this article which will definitely save me some time with this matter. Thank you for writing it.

    • Jason Dinesen says

      You’re welcome! All I can say is, settle in for a long, frustrating process. If you need any advice, or just a fellow EA to vent to, feel free to contact me.

      • Thomas Allen, EA says

        Thank you for the offer. It’s terrible that they would drag this woman through this process after what she has been through. I hope they resolve this issue soon. You would think that an EA would be able to handle such a situation I guess there is limitations to our practice rights after all.

        I’m in the process of filling out the paper work with the client. After submitting the documents what should be my next step? Do we need a police report?

        • Jason Dinesen says

          I assume you are filling out the Form 14039? If so, mail it in and expect to wait a very, very long time. Up to 200 days (yes, 200 days). Then try calling the ID Theft Unit, with the client on the line, too, since they won’t talk to just you, even under power of attorney.

          As for the police report, the instructions to the 14039 don’t specifically say you need to submit a police report, but if you have one, I would submit it.

          In my case, there has never been a police report, but my case involved theft of a deceased person’s identity and the only known fraudulent use of his ID was on a tax return.

          Keep me updated on your experiences. Maybe you’ll have better luck than me!

          • Thomas Allen, EA says

            I am going to file the 14039 but I was thinking of also requesting a transcript of the return in question and see what information was entered, we believe we know whom filed the return. Do you think this will be helpful? Thanks for the help.

          • Jason Dinesen says

            You mean pull a transcript of the fraudulent return? That’s a really good question. I honestly don’t know if it’s okay to do that or not. I would call the IRS (probably the Practitioner Hotline) and see what they say. To me, that’s a gray area.