This is the story of Wendy Boka and her husband Brian. Brian died in January of 2010. Someone stole his identity and filed a fraudulent tax return in his name. Wendy and I are still trying to get the IRS to sort this out, all these months later.
The names are real and are used with Wendy’s permission.
In my call with the IRS in mid-May, they told me to call again in 60 days if the matter wasn’t resolved yet.
Of course, the matter wasn’t resolved by then. Indeed, we heard not a peep from the IRS in those 60 days. So I called.
The IRS rep mentioned that they would need a Form 14039 before they could do anything. I told them that we sent that to them last fall, along with Brian’s death certificate. The response was “Oh, you sent that already?”
Once I got through the typical “let me tell you what I have already told the IRS multiple times in phone calls and letters” phase, I was told that Wendy’s case is, quote, “where it is supposed to be in the process.”
I was also told that the IRS has been so slammed with identity theft cases that they are months and months behind. (It’s been almost 16 months now on Wendy’s case.)
This time I was told to call again in 30 days, in mid-August — and I was told that things “should be” wrapped up by then.
But of course when I called in mid-August, things weren’t wrapped up. On the bright side, the IRS seemed to have finally updated their documentation, so I didn’t have to re-tell the story from the beginning again.
The IRS representative on the August call said Wendy’s tax return has bounced between the identity theft unit and the audit unit several times, and is finally with the identity theft unit again.
He also explained that part of the reason why it takes the IRS so long to resolve identity theft cases is is because these cases often involve undocumented workers, and the IRS has to be careful about stepping on the toes of other government agencies in going after these people.
I’ll wrap up the series (for now) with final thoughts in Part 7 on Wednesday.