For several reasons, including the death of my stepdad, probate, estate accounting, problems with mail transfers from his Fort Lauderdale address to our Stuart address, etc., we were late getting our taxes sorted out.
Luckily, we have great help from John Tuttle and Lynda Going in Kona, at Tuttle Financial Services, who have taken what would have been an impossible task off our shoulders and have been saving my sanity (what is left of it, anyway) for decades. With their help, we (really Erin, who is more computer-oriented than I am) finally got our taxes filed electronically, and breathed a sigh of relief.
Then, yesterday, John called and told me that our tax return had been rejected by the IRS! My heart sank! He explained that someone had already filed a tax return using Erin’s social security number. Erin was a victim of identity theft! How and when it happened we do not know — and Erin is the one who bought a shredder and uses it! It ain’t right and it ain’t fair!
She had been aware of attempts to get credit cards on her accounts, had reported the activity to all the credit bureaus, and had contacted the local sheriff’s office, but she has no idea when or how her social security number was compromised.
We now had to print out dozens of pages of Tuttle’s work and get to the post office before midnight and send it to the IRS. Tuttle told us, “Do not send any explanations with the forms; that will make things worse! Just send in the necessary bits, and I will send you another e-mail telling you which pages to send. Someone has almost undoubtedly filed for, and probably received, a tax refund using her information. The IRS will certainly open an investigation! They may try to assess penalties and interest for being late, but I have the records of the attempt to file electronically.”
On the good side, he has filed a joint return for us for many years, and they do not have my social security number. We will just have to deal with it. I need help in many places, and I find and keep good dentists, doctors, lawyers and accountants. Add to that automobile and boat mechanics and electricians, just for openers. Good professionals are worth the price of their time!
Do not think it only happens to someone else!
I leave for Mozambique in two days and will try to post blogs with photos. I sent Dave Ferrell photos of the boat and a local “gillie,” as they call deckhands, leadering a decent marlin with no gloves and no shoes. I am taking gloves with me — we will see what we can do about footwear on site.