Government seizes tax refunds without warning

The U.S. Treasury and Social Security Departments are intercepting federal and state tax refunds because of alleged overpayments to taxpayers’ parents decades ago.   The theory is that the children benefited from the overpayments, so they owe the money.

taxrefund0bThe intercepts mostly come without warning, and without the government providing any documentation that the money actually is owed.  The first warning the taxpayer gets that there is a problem is when the tax refund check is intercepted.

Be that as it may, there is nothing in the law that requires or authorizes Treasury or Social Security to ignore due process of law.  This is the decision of some unknown, unaccountable person hidden deep within the bureaucracy.

At the very least, taxpayers should be notified in advance as to just what the supposed overpayment was, and when and how it was made, and be given a chance to make an objection.

Experience tells me that unelected people in positions of authority in government seldom back down from mistakes.  But since nobody in Congress stands behind the original enabling legislation, there should be no problem in repealing it.  Should there?–for-parents-old-debts/2014/04/10/74ac8eae-bf4d-11e3-bcec-b71ee10e9bc3_story.html

The government is following the worst practices of mortgage foreclosure servicers and bill collection agencies, in acting without warning and with lack of documentation and due diligence to make sure they’ve got the right person and the debt is really owed.

I expanded this post somewhat a few hours after I published it.

[Update 4/15/14]

The U.S. Social Security Administration, criticized for seizing tax refund checks without notice based on debts of the taxpayers’ deceased parents, said it will stop trying to collect debts more than 10 years old.

That’s good first step. How about promising to use due process of law before trying to collect any debts? And how about observing the legal principle that children are not responsible for the debts of their parents?

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2 Responses to “Government seizes tax refunds without warning”

  1. thetinfoilhatsociety Says:

    This already happened to me! I received a letter in December of 2013 saying I received an overpayment of $X number of dollars and unless I contacted them they were going to garnish my tax refund.

    The claim number on the letter was my mother’s SS number. The name the letter was addressed to is a name that I have NEVER possessed. The office I was supposed to call is in a town I never lived in but my mother did. At the time she was living there she was employed full time with the school district as a teacher.

    I called them immediately and was told that the name was, in fact, my maiden name – which it was not. I was told my mother collected SS benefits in my name in 1987-88 – which she could not have done since I was old enough to vote and buy alcohol, and was living in another part of the state with my husband and three children at that time. They said I was a liar, basically, and hung up on me.

    I contacted my state representative who looked into it, said he couldn’t help me, and I needed to take it up with the SS administration.

    If anyone else has been screwed by this I would like to know if there is a class action lawsuit getting started and how to get involved. Or a lawsuit period, for illegal seizure. It’s pretty awful when they won’t admit they are wrong even when they can be confronted with tax documents proving they’re wrong.


  2. tiffany267 Says:

    Reblogged this on Tiffany's Non-Blog and commented:
    Spreading the word about this new tactic of the Fascist States of America.


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