Friday, October 5, 2012

The IRS and the Hot Potato

Perhaps you’re getting tired of hearing about IRS incompetence. I know that I’m getting tired of talking about it. But until IRS actually does something/anything, I guess I’ll keep reporting on the situation.

For those of you who don’t remember the story, here’s the short version. Back in January when we filed to get our tax return (yes, we are early filers), we discovered my husband’s identity had been stolen. We filed all the proper paperwork and presented all the documents—driver’s license, passports, etc. And then, the IRS agent sent in a change of address, which does nothing in terms of dealing with the fraud—and we never moved anyway.

We sent off paperwork. And we were told that a letter would soon be sent detailing when we’d get our return. The letter never came. And then, the responsibility hot potato game began—we were the hot potato being tossed back and forth from one agent to the next. Each one promised us the prize—the letter of information. But it never showed up.

My husband Cal has called and called. And then, called some more. One excuse followed another—my favorite was the criminal’s rights excuse. Rights—don’t I have some of those? And that letter, which kept being promised, never arrived.

It would be nice to actually meet these fraud agents face to face. But fraud is only handled by the Fresno, CA, office. I’m beginning to suspect the IRS chose Fresno on purpose—I’m mean who goes to Fresno? I’ve been there, it’s not a place I’d chose to visit. (Apologies to any readers who live there.)

Two weeks ago, we were assigned a case worker, and we assured ourselves that now something would be done. We were told we’d hear from her within ten days and that the letter—for sure—would come in ten days. Guess what? Ten days has come and gone. No letter and no contact from our case worker.

Cal called again. Now they gave us our caseworker’s name and number. So, Cal called and got her voicemail. It said to leave a message and she’d get back to us within thirty days. (Yeah, you read that right 30 days). Imagine trying that at work? Can you say “fired with cause”?

Hopefully, the case worker gets back to us much sooner. I’m sure she’s a busy woman, but we’ve been doing this for ten months. And it would be nice if the IRS actually contacted us or followed through on one single promise. If she’s too busy to call—maybe she could send that letter we were promised in January. It would be a nice gesture.

On the other hand, I’m getting a lot of blogs out of this fiasco. Maybe I could get a book deal. Or make a new version of the hot potato game—expect the timer would be set at one year. That’s not much fun.

I found out a curious thing. The IRS came out with a report on September 10, 2012 entitled, "The Process for Individuals to Report Suspected Tax Law Violations Is Not Efficient or Effective (2012-40-106).” Really, ya think?! And the report admitted that sometimes the IRS destroys the forms 3949-A that taxpayers used to file their fraud reports. Oops. Apparently, 3000 forms were destroyed and no one notified those taxpayers. Double oops. And it seems that if an IRS agent incorrectly thinks the report is unworkable, the 3949-A is destroyed within 90 days—and the taxpayer is not notified. Triple oops.

As far as I know, our 3949-A exists somewhere. Maybe.


  1. Good Grief.
    30 days and she'll get back to you? That is absolutely ridiculous.

  2. My goodness! What a nightmare! Here's hoping it gets sorted out soon and really fast. :(

  3. Such a nightmare! I hope it gets better soon.

  4. That sounds awful. Hope things speed up and something's done.