Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One down, only hundreds more to go...

27 Mar 2012, Tampa Bay Online:   

The crackdown on an income tax fraud and identity theft scheme in the Tampa Bay area has ensnared a man whose family owns a Tampa clothing and cash checking store, records show.

"Its estimated he was probably clearing roughly $100,000 in fraudulent checks, through his business, every week."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Keeping track of it all...

I am going to maintain a timeline, in order to keep a lot of critical events in order. Its one thing to say "I've called x-number of times," but to have a graphical representation of an issue often helps throw some weight behind your cause.


I have been paying taxes since I was 15 years old. I remember my mother requesting permission from the city Board of Education office to allow me to work my first job collecting and issuing golf balls at the local driving range. I remember seeing my first paycheck and realizing that, wow, that's a big chunk of money I don't get to bring home!

Seventeen years later, I am still part of the taxpaying system. Which is okay, its all part of the game, I suppose. I am employed full-time as a defense contractor, and I am also a Reservist, having served 8 years enlisted active duty before receiving my commission as a Reserve officer.  I am a homeowner who invests substantial time and money into making my abode beautiful, and a nice place to hang out.

I recently returned from an overseas deployment in January. Upon receipt of my W-2's, I promptly filed my tax return in February via a well-known, commercial tax filing service (which I have used for several years, without issue). I received a notice via email within 24 hours that a return had already been filed with my taxpayer ID. I immediately reviewed my credit report, and following IRS instruction I submitted a form indicating possible identity theft, and resubmitted a paper return. I have done all that I can do as the victim.

I read this week's article on TBO.com, and I'm happy to see that the Tampa Police Department and their Special Investigations Unit is calling the IRS to the carpet for their failure to perform. It's frustrating! I have a flawless history of prompt and accurate returns, but I must wait for the IRS to do their job. I contacted the IRS to follow-up on the status of my affidavit, only to be told that I would, quote: "hopefully receive a notice from an IRS case worker within 90 days" (note: I have already waited nearly 60 days, and the date I was provided was almost another 60 days from today.) If I did not receive a notice, it was MY responsibility to wait in the queue for a case worker's assistance.

In addition, the IRS customer service rep commented that she thought it was "odd" that the IRS did not flag my return as a possible fraud case, as it was filed without the historical indicators that are routinely on my tax returns. The IRS is restricted from providing any further details of my case, which is understandable. However, when I retorted that this was essentially the fault of the IRS as well for just handing over my money without vetting the return for accuracy, and it was not just the fault of the thieves that stole my hard-earned money, she responded that "yeah, they (the IRS) should have caught that but they didn't."

Nice. Just what an honest taxpayer wants to hear: "OOPS!", from the IRS.

I have lived in Tampa since 2004. I love Tampa and West Florida - warts and all. However, the dark underbelly of this city is becoming more and more in focus, as it becomes one of the epicenters of a national tax fraud issue.  And I am one of its most recent victims.

I tend to keep to myself, but with the growing number of fellow taxpayers being subjected to identity theft and government bureaucracy, well... I choose not to be silent now.

I have created this blog to track my situation, start to finish, to document the process from initial notification from the IRS, to a potentially tedious and final resolution.

I hope to share news articles, research, tips for personal security, and updates as my situation progresses.

I invite others to share their stories as well, but I advise that any and all discussion remain civil, in order to promote positive debate and discourse.

My name is Emily, and this is my story...