Morristown woman declared dead by IRS, cannot receive refund

Morristown woman declared dead by IRS, cannot receive refund

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Christina Adams was told by the IRS that she could not receive her refund because she was dead. Christina Adams was told by the IRS that she could not receive her refund because she was dead.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

MORRISTOWN (WATE) - The April 15 tax deadline is now less than a month away. Some people have gotten their refund.

However, the refund has been delayed for a woman in Morristown who filed early because the IRS has listed her as dead.

Christina Adams filed her taxes in January with the help of a tax preparation service. With another child coming along, she was anticipating a nice return.

Still working when we met her last week, she said she was planning on using the $6,000 refund she was anticipating to tide her over while she is out of work with her new baby.

"With the money, I was hoping not to worry while I'm on my leave because I will have to take six to eight weeks off from work," she said.

The new baby girl will be this single mother's second child.

She paid a tax preparation service in January to assist in filing her taxes and expected her refund sometime in February.

Instead of her money, she got a call. There was a problem. 

"I come to find out that I'm deceased," she said.  "I'd like to know when and why didn't I get my life insurance, if I had been dead for so long."

She says her tax preparer double checked the information sent to the IRS. The conclusion was that no mistake had been made.

"I had to go to the Social Security office and get a letter proving I wasn't deceased."

With the letter from Social Security, the tax fraud department from the IRS instructed Adams to have her tax preparer re-file her return.

"I got a copy of all my tax stuff sent all that in along with my ID, my Social Security and a note that I was not deceased, and sent that Priority Mail," Adams said.

Despite proof that she had not died, her return was denied a second time.

"I don't know how I'm dead with the IRS, but still alive with the Social Security board," she said.

What puzzles Adams is her payroll taxes continue to be withdrawn from her weekly paycheck.

"They're still taking taxes out of every check that I get," she said. "How can they take a dead person's taxes?"

Pearl Bolling, Adams' mother, says two months of waiting for a resolution is too long for the IRS to figure out how the error was made in her daughter's tax return.

"She has worked very hard to have what she does have. And to lose it over a silly mistake," said Bolling.

6 On Your Side contacted the IRS. While it is prohibited by law to discuss a person's tax matters or situation, we were told unusual or difficult federal tax return issues can be handled by the Taxpayer Advocate Service, which is an independent organization within the IRS.

Adams' tax advocate said three weeks ago he had received the personal information showing she is not deceased.

She says yet again it's going take weeks for them to figure out she's alive.

"[I] hope to have the matter resolved by April the 15th. I think they should have investigated it as soon as it happened," she said. "I have been working the whole time and haven't been notified at all."

All of Adams' documentation has been sent to the taxpayer advocate service for further examination and investigation.

Adams' baby Ella was born Tuesday morning. Her last day at work was last Friday. She hopes to return in three months.

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