I just ran across a new story about a Tennessee woman (Debra Martindale) who checked her bank balance only to find that she had erroneously received a $25,289 tax refund when she was expecting just $4,800. Concerned that the IRS would eventually discover their mistake, and then come after her for interest, penalties and/or fines, she called the IRS to report the error. However the representative the she talked to insisted that the $25k refund amount was right:
After a 30-minute phone conversation, in which Martindale said she continuously disputed the refund and the IRS representative kept insisting the money was hers, Martindale hung up. “I didn’t want to make the IRS mad,” she said.
About two weeks later, Martindale and her husband got a letter from the IRS stating that they had changed the total estimated tax on their return, resulting in a refund of $25,289.09. However, the balance of the information in the letter made it clear that something was wrong… In fact, the letter indicated that she had paid taxes roughly equal to her income for the entire year. But it wasn’t until she contacted an IRS taxpayer advocate instead of going through the ‘normal’ channels that this all got straightened out. It remains unclear what exactly happened, but it appears that the IRS somehow mixed and matched information across returns.
So… What would you do? Would you report the error? And if you were met with resistance, would you persevere and force them to admit their mistake?
[Source: The Daily Times]