NOTE: I wrote this post in 2013, so be aware of its age.
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.
This ridiculous saga may be coming to an end.
But fittingly, the IRS is going out with a bang.
Wendy, an attorney by trade (and also a Realtor, superstar blogger, and aspiring author), has taken up an offensive against the IRS on her own behalf. Her efforts have resulted in her case being assigned to an IRS representative who specializes in “long-term or difficult cases.”
This has resulted in positive movement on her case. In fact, the IRS is mailing her the refund she’s owed from this pesky 2010 return.
This next part is so amazingly, pathetically, ridiculously, jaw-droppingly (insert your own adjective) stupid. You won’t believe it, but this is true.
Here’s how the IRS is going to handle getting Wendy her refund:
- On February 1, the IRS will mail the check to Wendy’s 2010 address, when she lived in Iowa.
- The IRS rep told Wendy she could try calling the post office in Iowa and see if they could re-route the envelope to her in Texas (WHERE SHE’S LIVED SINCE LATE 2010!!!!!). Or,
- Barring that, the IRS is assuming that the post office in Iowa will return the check to the IRS, and after one month, the IRS will re-issue the check and send it to Wendy’s current address.
So the IRS is going to KNOWINGLY AND WILLFULLY mail Wendy’s refund check to a 2 1/2 year old address — even though she:
- Moved away from Iowa in LATE 2010,
- Filed a change of address form with the IRS in 2011 that gave the IRS her new address,
- Filed a 2011 tax return that showed her new address,
- And has filed various other documents with the IRS (estimated payments, and other such things) showing her new address.
In one of my text-message exchanges with Wendy about this, I said: “They’re knowingly going to mail your refund to an old address even though they have your current address? WTF?”
One of Wendy’s friends is an ex-employee of the IRS. Wendy and I have corresponded with this friend a few times regarding this case. I asked if she thought there was anything I could have done differently as a practitioner through all this to maybe have reached a speedier and more sensible conclusion. The friend’s response was, no, Wendy and I have both done all we could do.
To paraphrase the friend: the IRS is just inept and has no clear program in place to deal with identity theft cases.
So Wendy is spending her Monday trying to work this out with an Iowa post office, to see if they can re-route this refund check that the IRS — for reasons known only to the IRS — is mailing to an old address even though they have her current address on file.
So it seems appropriate to ask again: WTF?