Doppleganger

Remember way back when I asked you for advice on doing my taxes online? Well, I finally got around to using TurboTax, and it was great. I did it over Easter weekend, and I’ve been promised a nice little refund and the $600 rebate so that I can stimulate the economy in my own special way.

But then I got a letter from the IRS this week telling me that I won’t see any of the money until I pay them the $800.00 plus $127.50 interest that I owe them from my 2005 taxes, which has gone unpaid from the income I earned working at the {Idiot} Studio Theatre in 2005. However, I didn’t work there in 2005. I worked there in 2000. It turns out that another girl, who has the same first and last name as me, worked there in 2004 and 2005, and the accountants at the {Idiot} Studio Theatre didn’t realize that she was a different person, and used my social security number for her paychecks. Identity Theft by stupidity.

This same problem happened to me last year, and after much resistance and a trip to the city to talk to the accountant in person, I got the 2004 taxes problem resolved, and got my refund sometime in May. When I first got the notice that the other {Noelle Tannenbaum} also used my Social Security number in 2005, I called the theatre because if they fixed it once, I figured they could fix it again. However, in the ensuing year, there was much upheaval at the {Idiot} Studio Theatre, and they had an entirely new staff, including an accountant who only works from 5:00-6:00 on Wednesday evenings, and was slightly familiar with my case but still told me that I had to get it resolved on my own, because he didn’t think he could do anything. However, he could have either done one of two things. He could have wrote a two sentence letter on company letterhead stating that the company made a mistake, and give the IRS the correct Social Security number, or he could have downloaded a corrected W-2 and sent that in. I can’t do either of these, even though I’m the one who’s not getting my refund. I admit that I wasn’t hasty enough in fixing this situation, and today I had to call the IRS. Because the call was so full of holding and dead time, I decided to type while waiting:

“Liveblogging” my call with the IRS

– I call the number on my CP22A form, which is the bill saying I better pay them the money or I get no money back.

-Listen to 5 minutes of hold music, which is The Nutcracker Suite, and really, really loud.

-Tchaikovsky is interrupted by the sound of telephone keys, and Mr. Russo picks up and I explain my case after telling him my Social, name, address, and birthday. Because my case is more than 90 days old, he tells me I need to call the number on my CP2000 form.

-I do so.

-I need to listen to 3 minutes of explanations of the $600 rebate coming in May, which is the verbatim text of the Economic Stimulus Payment Notice that the government spent millions of dollars to send to us.

-Pressing “0”, “#”, “8”, “*” or “1” do not make her stop. Pressing all the buttons at once does not make her stop and get me to a menu.

-Finally, she stops.

-I get to a menu where my options are to hear information about making extentions, payments, and petitions. There are no options to “speak to a person.” I try a couple of the options, but all of them give me lengthy explanations of forms.

-I get back to a menu, and I just don’t press anything. I listen to a two minute long explanation about how to write a check to the IRS.

– I hear the Nutcracker Suite again.

– I hear a noise like someone pressing a button on a telephone, and someone says, “IRS, this is…”

-Then there’s dead air. The bitch disconnected the phone when she answered.

-I call again. Go back to step 4, repeat.

-Nutcracker Suite.

-They appreciate my patience. My call is important to them. To them? It’s important to freaking me! You’re telling me that I’m not getting my refund!

-Someone picks up again. She’s pretty nice. Twelve minutes later, she’s explained to me that she has to pass the case on to an examiner because it’s been closed. If I get a nice one, the taxes will be resolved based on 2004. If I get a mean one, I’ll have to show paperwork proving that I spent 2005 not working at The {Idiot} Studio Theatre, and I will have to get the theatre to write something on letterhead proving that there were two people with the same name and that they made a mistake. I can follow up on my case by calling the number above, and speaking to the next available operator.

So that’s where it’s at now. I’m thinking good thoughts for getting a nice examiner who will resolve my case in time for me to get my refund and my stimulus so I can stick it in the bank and stick it to the government. In the meantime, I’m going to try and get in touch with the theatre so they can get their act together, and maybe look up the other {Noelle Tannenbaum} who lives in Queens and is the one who’s going to get a $927.50 IRS bill once this is all resolved. She knew about the 2004 problem, and she could have paid the 2005 taxes before it came to me, but she didn’t. I’ve always thought it would be interesting to meet other women with the same name as me, but if I see this one, I might just kick some artificial Christmas Tree ass.

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24 responses to this post.

  1. I am so sorry! There is NOTHING more frustrating that dealing with gubment beaurocracy. Blech!

    This is precisely why I do not want to change my name when I get married. I have a very strange last name, and if I change to Brett’s last name, it will be very common, and I’m afraid of something like this happening.

    I think that’s a very good reason indeed to stay who you are!

  2. Ugh. There’s little that’s more annoying that having to deal with a problem that doesn’t actually belong to you.

    I wonder if at this point, the other Noelle really believes she is you. You know, because her W-2 told her she was.

    Yeah, it’s become my problem in a very real way.

  3. Posted by Jennifer M. on April 3, 2008 at 8:58 am

    That sucks! Did she not look at her W-2 and notice that it didn’t have her social security number on it, AGAIN? People are dumb sometimes.

    But hey, at least you are eligible for the economic stimulus package.

    I hope that I still get it, even if all this gets resolved after April 15.

  4. Man, that is a royal pain. Good luck with it!

    Thanks!

  5. Posted by nancypearlwannabe on April 3, 2008 at 9:10 am

    IRS issues rank right up there with having oral surgery and breaking your ankle: huge pain in the ass. Good luck with that.

    And all three of those happened to me in 2007!

  6. KICK HER ASS KICK HER ASS!!!

    Woah, easy tiger…

  7. All because somebody entered the wrong nine digits one time years ago. Makes me want to be a Republican. Almost. (You know, small government and all that.)

    IRS should be abolished, for real.

    It’s all because the theatre company was lazy and stupid.

  8. Posted by lizgwiz on April 3, 2008 at 9:32 am

    That other “Noelle Tannenbaum” NEEDS her ass kicked. You should call her up and tell her you’re having her investigated for tax fraud. She caused you to have to wait on hold for the IRS–that’s criminal in and of itself.

    It’s true, that was cruel and unusual torture.

  9. WOW! That’s absolutely awful.

    Are you considering changing your name to Noelle Tannenbaum for real now?

    That would solve some problems, as I think there are no other Noelle Tannenbaum’s out there.

  10. That is terrible!

    Good luck getting through all the red tape and IRS nonsense.

    They will probably get it all sorted out by 2025…at the latest.

    But I want the money now!

  11. Posted by tinetastic on April 3, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Oh no, Noelle. . .I guess it’s because naming your child after a christmas tree was so popular back then LOL.

    You should google your name and see how many of you there are out there. I’ve done it. I guess I’m lucky cause there are not many Tinetastics out there (or perhaps because my mom spelled my name uniquely) my sister however has numerous dopplegangers so I shall pass your tale along to make sure it never happens to her.

    I like my real name, because it’s normal enough to be easy to spell and say, but interesting enough to be unique. I guess thousands of other mothers thought that as well.

  12. Posted by Peter on April 3, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Yikes! When it rains it pours at the IRS. When you get the check from the IRS buy some good wine to celebrate!

    I think I might also buy some wine while I’m waiting.

  13. Help is available. You might read “The Silent Crime” by Michael McCoy. He states that there are 5 major areas of identity theft which can not be prevented and financial is only a small percentage. On page 191 he does a comparison of services. He also states Pre-Paid Legal Services is “Most robust with complete restoration, credit monitoring and access to attorneys 24/7.” You can find out more about the service at http://www.keithdsmith.com

    Wow, targeted spam. Neat! You really weren’t paying attention to the part where I mentioned that this wasn’t really an identity theft problem, were you?

  14. Posted by allison on April 3, 2008 at 10:40 am

    OHMYGODWHATANIGHTMARE!!!!

    im LOVING turbotax online…what an invention!!

    It really was easy, yet a little time consuming.

  15. I can’t believe there’s another Christmas Christmas Tree out there. Effing ersatz evergreen.

    Batman villain-quality alliteration aside, that does indeed suck. Good luck.

    I wish that to be my Batman villain name.

  16. You should challenge her to a swimming race.

    I should, because that is one place where I do kick ass.

  17. wow, that is horrible. And the nutcracker suite on top of all of that????

    It was like a kick in the nuts.

  18. at first I was like, how many noelle tannenbaums can there be?!? then realized that is not your name and your real name may not be so unique as noelle tannenbaum.

    i hope you get your taxes sometime this year. 🙂

    It’s true, I’m the only Noelle Tannenbaum. I hope I get them sometime this month!

  19. Oh man, What a P.I.T.A!

    You said it!

  20. Oh my goodness, this has GOT to be soul sucking for you.

    And, seriously? The Nutcracker Suite in APRIL? Someone at the IRS has a sadistic sense of humor.

    I hope getting my return doesn’t take as long as changing the hold music.

  21. Wow. That’s really crappy.

    I suggest you call them and invite them to an “audit”.

    Yeah, and I can’t even blame the theatre company, who is now on the 4th accountant since the one that fucked up.

  22. What a disaster. So unfair that the onus is on you instead of the idiot film company.

    Good luck. Maybe the examiner will be a BSG fan!

    I hope the examiner has the same name as me and takes pity.

  23. I just found out today that because not enough money was withheld for some dumb reason (stupid former employer!) my husband and I will be paying big BIG bucks to the IRS. I guess I’ll go to my invisible savings account and make a withdrawal.

    Oops. Inappropriate ranting on your comments.

    Anyway, good look with straightening it out! Dealing with the IRS can be, um, not so pleasant. I’m sorry you have to deal with it.

  24. Oh my word; that well and truly sucks. For a while, I got repeated bill collector calls for a Sarah {My Last Name}, but luckily it never affected my tax refund! Damn.

    Also, I hate hate hate it when I can’t get to a real person. I am all about avoiding human contact as much as possible when it comes to ordering things, making appointments, etc., but when I have a complicated “You have wronged me and I want you to make it RIGHT” situation, it’s entirely frustrating to have to wade through the voice-jail.

    Good luck to you!

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