TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -
The end of the tax filing season Tuesday will only mark the continuation of a wait for some taxpayers whose identities were stolen to file fake tax returns.
“It just feels like I've been robbed,” said Peter Kehr, a Largo retiree who is still waiting for his refund after the return he and his wife filed was rejected in March.
Kehr said he's still unclear whether his identity or his wife's was stolen, but someone used one or both to file a return before they did. Now their anticipated $603 refund is on hold.
“I really needed it,” said Kehr, who says the money would have helped the couple living on Social Security and disability payments pay some bills.
In recent years, the identity theft issue has gotten more attention from law enforcement and the IRS, but victims are still reporting fraudulent returns that got at least part of the way through the system.
The IRS has not released statistics on identity theft for this season’s tax filing season, but in a statement forwarded by an IRS spokeswoman said that it closed 963,000 cases last year.
In that same statement, it said the time frame for resolving this type of case is now down to 120-135 days.
“We certainly understand this is still frustrating for the victim, but these are among our most complex cases and we need to make sure we confirm the identity of the correct taxpayer. But we are working to speed that up,” the statement said.
Kehr said he was told his case might be resolved quicker – in six to eight weeks – if his case is classified as a hardship case.