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IRS tax refunds slow for victims of identity theft

The recent report from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) finds that victims of identity theft have to wait 180 days or more for their tax refund. The TAS notes it may be an even longer wait next year and called this long delay "unacceptable." The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) attributed part of the delay to the need to process internal paperwork before it pays the refund.

The TAS notes that if the IRS would send the refund to the victim of identity theft as soon as the service has confirmed the taxpayer's identity, it would shorten the wait time. The IRS, however, is a large bureaucracy, with various groups that handle specific aspects of the issue and untangling the interconnected responsibilities is neither simple nor straightforward.

TAS indentified 21 units within the IRS that assist with identity theft cases and suggested the service should provide victims with a single point of contact. The IRS noted that it is improving its handling of identity theft, and has tripled the number of staff assigned to this issue.

The delays are a result of the 650 percent increase in four years in tax-related identity theft, with TAS finding that 650,000 identity theft claims remained outstanding at the end of last year.

If you have filed an income tax return for a refund and had it rejected by the IRS because the refund has already been fraudulently paid, an experienced tax attorney can help you in your dealings with the IRS. We can help resolve the matter and see that you receive your refund.

Source: "Victim of identity theft? Expect a long wait for your tax refund," CNN Money, Blake Ellis, January 10, 2013

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