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After All the Sweat and Tears…Still Another Happy Member

August 01, 2016 | Written by: Cindy Goldsmith, EA
Tax Refund Note
It seems like a very long time ago when we first received an SOS from a member who was desperate for guidance and relief from the IRS notice he had received relating to phantom income from Incentive Stock Options. The case was initially assigned to Lawrence – a very capable Customer Care rep. After an extensive review of the case documents, Lawrence called the member and began the process of working to get the facts straight. The member tried hard to work with Lawrence, but personal life kept getting in the way, and quite a while passed before the member was able to gather all the supporting documents requested of him.

The case was then assigned to me to help organize and get the member’s documents out to the IRS. I worked closely with our Quality Assurance expert, Betsy, to make sure that all the T’s were crossed and all the I’s had been dotted. We finally sent the response to the IRS, keeping our fingers crossed that they would be willing to resolve this issue quickly and painlessly.

It was several months later, at the end of January, when I called the IRS for a status update on the case. The individual I spoke with stated that the documents had been transferred to another unit back in December and noted that it would take some additional time for the case to be processed. The days and nights passed and it was at the beginning of March when I reached out to the IRS again for another update. The agent confirmed that the documents had been received. She also stated that the case had been closed and the taxpayer had been issued a refund check for $588 – an amount significantly lower than what we felt the member was rightfully due.  I promptly asked the agent to see the report that explained why the member did not receive the refund we believed was appropriate; she stated that my request to see such a report would have to be issued in writing.

At that time, I re-convened with Betsy to discuss how to approach this type of letter, and our request for the calculations and explanation was sent out to the IRS in middle of March – smack dab in the middle of tax season. When I followed up with the IRS in April to verify receipt of the letter, the agent stated that that they had no record of receiving it and there were no prior notes on the case. I gave the IRS another month to process the information and called back again in May. The agent reported that they had the request letter, but that we needed to wait at least two more weeks for their reply.

Frustrated by their continual lack of response, I filled out a Form 911 and sent it to the Taxpayer Advocate Service. It was only a short week later when I received a voicemail, informing me that a taxpayer advocate had been assigned to the case. Upon explaining the situation to our advocate, she stated she was shocked to hear how the case had been handled. She could not believe that the IRS transferred the case to another unit and then closed and swept it under the rug. She noted that she would reach out to the IRS and get back to us.

It didn’t take long for us to hear back from our advocate. She called me back on July 5, 2016, stating that the issue had been entirely resolved. The IRS agreed to release the member’s refund check on July 8, 2016 in the amount of $61,890.62. I thanked our advocate for all her help and told her I would notify our member of the outstanding news.

I spoke with our faithful member the following day and told him what he would be receiving in the next two weeks. The member was ecstatic beyond belief and stated that this could not have happened at a better time. 

I was happy to know that’s persistence paid off and, at the end of day, resulted in another happy member. 

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