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Victim of identity theft now facing IRS trouble

As many Massachusetts residents know, it can be easy to make a mistake on your tax forms. Not only are the forms difficult to comprehend, but the rules for tax deductions are changing frequently as well. However, one Florida woman received a letter from the IRS regarding her tax return that people in Massachusetts and elsewhere may find interesting.

Last year, the woman's 5-year-old son tragically died after he drowned in a swimming pool. As if that were not enough, the mother received more tragic news when she submitted her tax return this year. Evidently, someone had stolen her deceased son's Social Security number.

The IRS has not released information about who the culprit is or how they obtained the Social Security number, but it has posed significant problems for the mother. Initially, the IRS rejected her tax return on the basis that she had listed the boy as a dependent. This was due to the fact that someone else had also submitted a tax return with the child's Social Security number on it.In order to receive the refund to which she was entitled, the mother had to resubmit her tax return without listing her son as a dependent. At the time, the IRS said it would send her a letter detailing the documentation needed to prove she was the mother of her deceased son. To date, she has not received that letter.

The mother's case serves as a tragic reminder of the dangers of identity theft and the complexity of the federal taxation system. Victims of identity theft should not be subject to haranguing by the IRS because someone took advantage of them. Fortunately, she had hired a tax preparer who is now helping her navigate the system.

Source: Tampa Bay Online, "Tax cheats stole her dead son's identity- mom says," Elaine Silvestrini, Oct. 11, 2011

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