A Kansas City Tax Clinic success story
A surprising number of people simply don’t file, and – for fear of arousing
suspicion – are reluctant to remedy the situation. Other clients may be older,
limited in resources and unassertive. To satisfy back taxes, the IRS may levy
the Social Security payments of some elderly citizens. Often clients lack
familiarity with tax law and what recourse is available. Because they are in an
uncomfortable and frightening situation, they are somewhat skeptical and
reluctant to reveal their personal and financial status to strangers. Their
usual reaction is to passively accept the ruling against them.
Such was the case with one 80-year-old woman whose $10,000 savings account was seized to satisfy her debt. The IRS had sent her several notices, advising her that she had underreported her income and owed back taxes; but the woman – not fully understanding the claims against her – ignored the letters.
She came to the Tax Clinic bearing a 1099 that showed an income of $1500. Yet IRS forms showed an income of $66,000 for her. Her employer failed to respond, and the tax clinic was at a loss to account for such a large discrepancy.
Days went by. Then suddenly the light came on. In a “eureka” moment, one of the directors yelled, “The IRS data processor input the zip code on the income line!”
Thanks to this discovery, $10,000 was returned to its rightful owner.