I noticed it as Lucy and I mounted the steps from the street. A white envelope lay on the stoop. Weird, I thought, Maybe it is the misdelivered mail I meant to drop in a mailbox yesterday then, couldn’t find. As I picked it up I knew I was mistaken. This envelope was much thinner, and it bore my name and address, not the mistaken one. Another misdelivered letter, I assumed, wondering why my neighbor placed on my stoop and not through my mailbox slot. I looked more carefully at the envelope. The return address and logo made my heart stop: The IRS!
I filed my taxes the first week in February. I’d received my State refund already, but I’ve been checking daily for my Federal refund. I bet they want to audit me, I muttered as I nervously tore open the envelope. As I read I relaxed a bit. They weren’t asking to audit me. They wanted me to verify my identity before processing my refund.
My habit, when Lucy and I return, is to change quickly into my school clothes and leave for school right away. Some days, Lucy is anxious in the morning when I leave, so I try to make it quick and business-like. My computer is shut down and my school bag packed before we set off for her morning constitutional. I knew I would have to wait until I got to school to do anything. I grabbed the items I’d need for the phone call and quickly stuffed them in my new school bag, thanking my father for teaching me to keep tidy income tax files.
I worried the entire 30 minute drive to work. Is this letter a scam? Can I Ask the IRS to prove that they are the IRS? Once I arrived at school, I booted up my computer to do a little research about this letter before calling anyone, (you can’t be too careful these days) and I learned that this is a real thing. They send different letters for different purposes and my letter was legit. So I called.
Say what you will about the IRS, I got the most charming woman on the phone. We had a lovely chat and got everything taken care of in a few minutes. Then she said the words that gave me pause, “Your refund should be processed with in nine weeks.” And she told me what to do it I hadn’t received it by then.
Dang! I’d hoped to have the refund sooner, but I suppose I should be happy that the IRS is taking additional steps to prevent identity theft. I still feel a little worried that this might have been the slickest fraud job ever. I won’t truly relax about it until I receive my refund. This is going to be a long nine weeks.