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IRS harassment prompts teacher to sue

In our last post we discussed the importance of calling an Orange County tax attorney if you are contacted by the IRS. We also began discussing the tax issues that one teacher faced after someone stole his identity and filed a false return for a refund. The identity theft prompted the IRS to send the teacher audit letters and the IRS continued to harass the teacher even after he filed an affidavit of identity theft.

The teacher grew angry after repeatedly calling the IRS and telling them that he had filed the identity theft affidavit. The teacher said the response was usually "Well this department doesn't communicate with this department.

"Their bureaucracy is just, wow," the teacher said. "All they try to do is just sort of placate you, and it's just ridiculous because you know it's going on with a lot of people."

"You're on hold, and then you're transferred from one ill-informed representative to another," his wife said.

The teacher said that he has called the IRS about a dozen times and has sometimes been placed on hold for over an hour. The IRS has also told him that he would be called back several times but no one has ever returned his calls.

"We understand that this is a frustrating process for identity theft victims, and we share their frustrations," an IRS statement about the teacher's case said. "These are some of the most complex cases we handle. The IRS is firmly committed to working with people to take care of these issues as quickly as possible. We have been working hard to speed up resolution of refund fraud cases and help get these fixed promptly for taxpayers. We have put more people into this area to help resolve these cases as fast as we can."

The teacher's case highlights the fact that dealing with the IRS can be a very time-consuming and frustrating experience for a taxpayer. This is why contacting a tax law attorney is often preferable to dealing with the IRS alone. A tax law attorney will know who to contact and properly document the situation to prevent a tax situation from worsening.

Source: The Tampa Tribune, "Tax fraud victims sue IRS for refund," Elaine Silvestrini, Dec. 31, 2011

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