When tragedy strikes sometimes life’s lessons hold the answers. This story begins when one of our Members received a CP2000 notice from IRS on February 23, 2015, with a proposed balance due of $1,858.
There was nothing unusual about the notice. The IRS was questioning retirement income, gross versus taxable. It was the taxpayer’s circumstance that caught my attention and made the case very sensitive in nature. You see, the Member’s husband had just passed away on February 3, 2015. For the next 20 days the Member’s life began to become a nightmare. She discovered that her husband had cancelled his life insurance policy and she was forced to default on all her bills. She had no idea how she would even be able to buy groceries. The Member did not work throughout the course of their marriage and had no other source of income outside of the Social Security she would receive from her husband. When she received this notice she panicked and was extremely upset as she began to explain her situation to me.
What the Member really needed at that moment was to unload all of her troubles, so I quietly listened as she shared her deepest concerns with a total stranger. As she spoke, she was finally able to calm down. It was then that I explained the notice and all of her options. Next I requested a Power of Attorney and all supporting documents. It became very clear as I reviewed the documents that the notice was correct. I starting wondering, “How in the world can I help this Member?” Then I remembered my Grandmother’s story. The exact same thing had happened to her when my Grandfather passed away. She had called the IRS and explained her situation to them and they cleared the matter up for her. I thought about it and decided to give it a try. The worst thing that could happen would be that they would say no to my request.
I called the IRS and explained the taxpayer’s situation and asked if there was anything at all that could be done to help this Member. He asked me for the date of death of her husband. I provided this information with a copy of the death certificate. As he reviewed the file he determined that the total income belonged to the deceased. He then told me to explain to the Member that she would need to wait for the next notice. He would not provide any additional information to me on that call.
When the Member received the notice she called. She was extremely excited and asked, “Is the notice really true?” She had received a new notice with a zero balance due. She could not have been more satisfied with the outcome and thanked me over and over.
This case reminded me once again that when it seems as if there is no help for the Member and they are facing dire circumstances, you can dig a little deeper and go that extra mile. You never know what victory may be waiting for you around the corner.
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