Taxpayer Identity Theft — Part 16

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. Wendy is owed a refund from that tax return and we’re still waiting for that refund to be paid.

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: 1234567891011,121314, 15


In early June, the IRS told me that Wendy’s refund check would be sent in “2 or 3 weeks.”

Regular readers of this series can guess the rest.

(I’ll pause here while you all take a wild guess at where this blog post is headed.)


Yep, it’s now mid-July (6 weeks since the last update) and Wendy still hasn’t gotten the refund check.

I called Taxpayer Advocate Services yesterday to see if they could assign an advocate to Wendy’s case.

I talked to two extremely surly “advocates.”

One lectured me about how I really needed to call the practitioner hotline instead. I told them I had done that repeatedly for almost 2 years and gotten nowhere. He gruffly transferred me to someone else.

The second “advocate” — and I use the term “advocate” sarcastically for both of these fine public servants — also gave me attitude. He couldn’t find Brian or Wendy in their system, gruffly told me that they had no open cases on Brian and Wendy and repeatedly asked if Wendy had received a notice from the IRS.

I said all we wanted was for Taxpayer Advocate Services to help get Wendy’s refund check paid. She’s only been waiting for 2 freaking years, for crying out loud.

I tried to explain the backstory. But this obviously well-trained, sensitive, taxpayer-focused “advocate” interrupted me, wouldn’t let me continue, and told me I’d need to talk to the “accounts department” to find out the status of the refund check.

I waited on hold another 30 minutes and finally got to speak to a random call-center person, like usual.

Random Call-Center Person (who was friendly, at least) said the problem had something to do with the address on file for Brian. He died in 2010, and the IRS has it in their heads that the refund check, because it relates to the 2010 return and Brian was listed first on the return, should be sent to Brian and Wendy’s 2010 address.

Never mind that the refund check is actually being made out to Wendy, and that the IRS has had her new address on file for almost 2 years.

And never mind that in February, April and June of this year, I had verified the correct address each time I talked to the IRS, so they know full well where to send the check.

They’re just not doing it.

Random Call-Center Person told me she would send an “internal memo” or some such thing to the “manual check department” to tell them to cut the check.

Current timeline?

“Minimum of 3 weeks, probably more like 6 weeks.”

My next call is to our elected officials to see if they can do something to speed things along. At any rate, they need to know about what this poor widow is going through. All we want is for the IRS to issue her a refund check!