IRS fun

In March 2020 I filed my 2019 tax return the old fashioned way.
In March 2021 I went to file my 2020 tax return electronically. I did not succeed because as a security measure TurboTax requires you to input your AGI from the previous year. It was odd that the number I filed did not work.
So I created an account with the IRS only to find out that my 2019 return did not exist.
In July I sent my return again via certified mail. It was slightly different from the first version, but both times I sent a check for about $1,000.
Sometime last month (November 2021) I checked my IRS account and still no news of either filing.
Today, I got a refund with interest because sometime in the last 30 days both returns were processed. Having paid twice, I got the duplication returned to me.

So the story has a happy ending but that’s probably the last time I mail a tax return. Just in case anyone else is having IRS issues I thought I’d mention this.

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The IRS is incredibly behind in processing stuff.

My father never deposited a refund check for his/my late mother’s 2015 tax return…so they mailed him a new check, with interest, in July of last year.

However, right at the start of the pandemic, my father fell into severe dementia. It took a couple of months for the check to get forwarded to me. The check was too large to do a mobile deposit, and it took forever for me to find someone at his bank to tell me how to mail it in (closest branch 1000 miles away).

So I did…and the check was refused because it was made out to “Maphisto’s Dad and Maphisto’s Mom DECD”…and I didn’t have authority to endorse checks on behalf of my late mother.

So, I eventually get someone to give me instructions on how someone acting with POA can request a replacement check. I ship off that paperwork…and two months later, my father passed away.

A couple more months passed, because probate matters in that area are painfully slow due to COVID operating constraints, distance, and FedEx losing a check to pay for a probate bond…and I go into the local IRS office to find out what papers I need to file now because of that damned check. (I had hoped to do it over the phone, but every time I called the TCA, my call was dropped due to too many other callers into the system.)

At that visit, as we went over the additional paperwork I needed to file, the IRS guy said, “Are you sure you want to do this? We’re about 4-5 months behind in processing stuff; they’re probably cutting you a check now.”

Yes, I did want to file the damned forms; the way my luck on the matter had been running, I’d wait two months, get a check still made out to both of my dead parents, and have to start another 4+ month waiting period to get that check replaced.

As it is, this is probably going to create more paperwork. In the state where my father passed, you normally have 4 months after an estate is opened to get everything settled. If you go longer than that, you start having to make periodic appearances before the judge, start filing detailed accounting reports, incurring additional legal costs, etc. I’m probably going to have to keep an estate bank account open beyond that timeframe, because I’ll still be waiting on a check that might have my father’s name on it.

Life would have been MUCH simpler if my mom had trusted direct deposit.


I had the same problem with e-filing. As I recall, a person I consulted said that it was due to their backlog of processing 1999 returns, and that the “solution” was to say that your 2019 AGI was 0.

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The IRS is ludicrously out of date.

Apparently the Build Back Better bill is intended to improve this, and has a significant multiplier effect of clawing back several times the line item cost in unpaid taxes. (If this has changed in the last month and a half I’m unaware.)

I only learned about this via articles along the lines of “Biden is spending taxpayer money to take more of your hard-earned cash!”

IRS sent me a notice with some small fee to pay. Says I can pay online, I’m like great. Go online and it requires I set up an account, so I set up an account and it says that they’ve snail mailed me the pin that I’ll need to login … so I mailed them a check for the fee

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I understand that switching back and forth between mailing and e-filing can cause problems, but as one’s return becomes more and more complex, there’s a distinct advantage to paper filing.

You can attach copies of all of your financial documents. I’ve been told that reduces the chance of an audit, since the IRS will already have the documentation that they would otherwise request.

Even though tax software sometimes scans and stores many of those documents, I think the final product that they send to the IRS is just an XML with the appropriate numbers entered in the correct spots. I don’t think they have a way of actually attaching financial documents to send to the IRS.

the world ended - at least temporarily

I’m dying.

They sent me another letter saying they’re gonna seize assets if I don’t pay the $50 >:( they’ve already cashed the first check, I’m hoping things just got crossed in the mail… been on hold with the IRS for 90 minutes now…

I once made an account on the IRS website, forgot about it because I wasn’t doing anything urgent, like two weeks later a letter from the IRS arrives and my first thought was damn I probably screwed up my taxes and owe money, nope, it is a snail mail letter that just says “Welcome to” and nothing else. Uh, thank you for the welcome?

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Now it’s May 2022 and i was notified in a letter than I filed my tax return twice, and decided I get $20 more back.

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Yeah, Covid had them super behind… some centers more than others due to differences in lockdowns.

Then on top of that they had three rounds of stimulus to process, plus to Advance Child Tax Credit.

Plus everyone and their brother started a small business in 2020. Everyone who’d had an idea percolating in their brain figured that being on lockdown and collecting unemployment was the perfect opportunity to give that idea a try. So a lot more Schedule C’s than normal.

And the stimulus money meant that a lot more married couples were better off filing separately than normal, so also a lot more returns than normal.

And the stimulus brought people out of the woodwork wanting to catch up on back taxes and ride the gravy train.

Plus there were a lot of late-breaking changes to the tax rules themselves that the IRS had to deal with. (Break on taxation of unemployment, small business credit for time missed from work due to Covid, could amortize retirement distributions over 3 years and/or skip RMDs, higher investment income allowed for EIC… and more)

It was a perfect storm of everything that could be done to make things as difficult as possible for the IRS.

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Also, Biden tried to add $80B of funding to the woefully-underfunded IRS to fight underreporting and lack of tax from the rich, but it was blocked in the Senate. So we’re still left with a laughably understaffed and technologically out-of-date IRS that overwhelmingly targets lower-income individuals because it’s easier to unwind their mistakes, yet they are still unable to resolve disputes when they arise.

Is this an actual thing or an anecdotal thing? I would think that majority of IRS audits are focused on high earners with lots of deductions or else they would be chasing pennies instead frying the big fish

This was the best I could find in a very quick search. The probability of being audited (# of audits / total returns filed) was significantly higher if you claimed the EITC.

I would think computer programs would kick out the “average guy” with aberrations and then you would need a human to follow up. Maybe not a face to face audit, unless multiple years

@Kenny linked basically the same stats, but since that data looks like poop (albeit being closely related to the primary sources), here’s also Propublica and even Fox News reporting on it (Fox cites Propublica and is a bit light on context but clearly admits it.)

okay I had to read into this

of course the IRS is going to laser in on people claiming an EITC, this is an all or nothing tax credit

if you actually look at the data the IRS does not focus more recourses on the poor (proportionally), they focus on people claiming large deductions or tax credits

the IRS is going to chase returns where they are most likely going to find an error with large favorable payments towards the IRS

My dad was a special agent for the IRS - big organizational cases.

I could ask him, but then again he retired 42 years ago


ask him!!! I am sure he has at least one cool story to share about tax doding/evading

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