"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Monday, March 23, 2015

We Need More Information

When I arrived home from work the other evening, there was a letter in the mail from the IRS; that's never good news.  In this case, that adage held true.  The letter starts with, "We need more information before we can process your 2014 federal tax return and issue your refund."  The immediate problem was that I hadn't yet filed my 2014 tax return.  

So, I contact the IRS via their website to verify my personal information as they requested.  Of course, when you call, all of their lines are busy so you have to hold until they come on the line to tell you "because of a high volume of calls, you will need to try back later." So after entering all of my personal information and answering a series of personal questions on their website, the IRS request for information culminates with asking if I have filed my 2014 federal tax return. HELL NO!!!! would be my answer but only a simple YES or NO were the options.  

They then explain that a tax return has been fraudulently filed using my identity.  I was then informed that I will not be permitted to complete the 2014 tax return electronically and that a hard copy will have to be sent to a special IRS office in Texas.  That's it, have a nice day!  I am beside myself at this point.  I am like what the hell do I do next?   

So, I proceed to inform my accountant of the news; and I then thought, wait a minute, I pay $127 a year to have my identity protected by Lifelock.  Someone now has access to my SSN and other information; I had better call Lifelock.  So far, the only benefit that I have received from Lifelock has been their alerts every time a registered sex offender moves into the 21502 zip code.  Even that has been useless for the most part.  If a sex offender moves onto my street, that's worth an alert.  But, if identity theft hasn't been an issue before, that's good news and I guess that they have been doing their job. 

So, I call Lifelock and ask to speak to a representative.  I am connected to a Lifelock rep who asks me to verify my identity with more personal questions that I successfully answer.  Then she asks, "How can I help you?"  I explain the situation and she says, "Thanks for letting us know."   I say, "That's it?"  She asks what else would I like for her to do?  I say, "I don't know but you are the ones whom I pay to protect my identity and so far you are not doing a very good job."  She offers to have someone from Lifelock work with the IRS on my behalf. I say," No, that's my accountant's job."  So, she says, "Well let us know when you file your tax return and give us the date of the fraudulent tax return filing and we will note that in your file."  That's what $127 gets you, just about nothing.  

When I went online to see what else I should be doing to protect my identity, there's an ad from Lifelock to sign up with them to be protected from fraudulent tax returns being filed using your identity.  Really?  

I also learned that so far this year over 15,000 fraudulent tax returns have been filed, costing taxpayers over $19 million.  I would love to hear from you as to whether you have had a similar experience with the fraudulent filing of a 2014 tax return.  This is a whole new issue for me, especially for someone who is vigilant in protecting one's identity and the solution seems to be to file your tax return as soon as humanly possible.

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