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Problems with 2019 return (deceased spouse)

Discussion in 'Taxation' started by Marybell, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. Marybell

    Marybell Law Topic Starter Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    Hello,
    My husband passed away at the beginning of 2020. I filed 2019 joint return electronically before the deadline in July 2020.
    At first, I was using Turbo Tax while preparing forms. It did ask me to check the box whether any people in this return were deceased at the time of filing and also asked the date of death (of course, I checked it as I didn't have any intention to conceal that my husband was deceased). Due to some circumstances, I decided not to file with Turbo Tax (I ended up when they wanted me to pay extra for using Turbotax and I couldn't get out of that mode). I went to CreditKarma and did my return there. All tax amounts were the same as in Turbo Tax. However, CreditKarma tax didn't ask me at all whether one of us had died. I found it strange but thought - Oh well, they are legitimate company. I sent the return using CreditKarma.
    The return still hasn't been processed. In October 2020, I received a letter from IRS asking me to fill out the form that was asking me to confirm the date of death for my husband. I sent it to Kansas city IRS stop, as asked. Yesterday, I managed to talk to the IRS (called many times but couldn't get through before). She said that my return was flagged as fraudulent because it appeared as both of us had signed while their records indicated that my husband was deceased. I deny any wrongdoing on my side. I followed what the forms asked me to do. She said that only the person filing is responsible for doing everything right.
    Any comment regarding this situation? Its been more than 8 weeks since IRS stop in Kansas city received my signed paper. I also can't get my second stimulus payment yet because its based on 2019 return.
    I contacted CreditKarma to tell them that they were incompetent and getting people in trouble. Their reply was not any useful.
    I would like to file a complaint against Credit Karma to save other people from getting into trouble in a similar situation. Where do I file my complaint? Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    This is not a legal question. I'm sure there are plenty of consumer boards that you can find that will host your complaint.
     
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Not sure what you expect anyone to say. The IRS person with whom you spoke is correct. All responsibility for the accuracy of your return rests with you. While you obviously had no intent to commit fraud, you admittedly submitted a return with an inaccuracy.

    I would suggest you retain the services of a certified tax preparer or tax attorney to help you file an amended return or otherwise deal with this situation.

    Without knowing what sort of "complaint" you want to file, I cannot tell you where you might file it. Unless you end up suffering some financial damage as a result of this, you have no basis to file a lawsuit.
     
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious - what was their reply?
     
  5. Marybell

    Marybell Law Topic Starter Member

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    they say that there should be that question but I don't know how someone can miss that.
    Here is their reply
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I understand that you didn't see the question for you to indicate that your spouse is deceased. I'm sorry for your loss.

    If your filing status is married filing jointly on your tax return, we asked you to indicate if your spouse is deceased in the Basic Info section, on the We need more info about you and {your spouse} page.

    Example: On this page, you would have seen the following for you to check the box that applies to your situation:

    If any of these applied to you in 2019, you may be eligible for specific credits or deductions.

    Pick any that applied to you or your spouse in 2019
    ( ) Legally blind
    ( ) Permanently disabled
    ( ) Full-time student
    ( ) Claimed as a dependent by someone else
    ( ) You or your spouse is deceased
    ( ) "Your name" Example


    ( ) "Your spouse" Example

    ( ) Received, sold, sent, exchanged or otherwise acquired virtual currency

    Credit Karma Tax is a self-prepared tax platform, which relies on the member for accuracy in entering their data, since every taxpayer's situation is different.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I didn't check that box because none of us was deceased in 2019!!!!!
     
  6. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    There are two important things taxwise when a person dies. First, there is the issue of how that impacts the return for the year he/she dies -- for you that's the 2020 return. That's where the question you quoted that the preparer asked would matter. Second, there is the issue of preparing any prior returns that need to be filed for years before the year of death. Here, that's 2019. For your 2019 joint return the issue is how to sign the return for your husband since he was unfortunately not around to do it himself. The preparer would need to address that if they were to file the return electronically as they need the consent of both spouses to do that; they should not just get your consent and assume the spouse is good with it. So how was the return signed and filed? Did you sign his name for him?
     
  7. Marybell

    Marybell Law Topic Starter Member

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    Thank you. As I have said, I did what I was asked in the electronic forms that I was filling in. To be honest, I don't remember how I "signed" since an electronic signature isn't the same as a written one. Whatever they were asking - I did it (if it was saying at the end - type your name, type your spouses' name - I assume I did as they asked). I do regret that I didn't file with TurboTax since they knew how to take care of this situation by asking me to check the box about the deceased spouse. Not the case with CreditKarma. After you submit the return electronically, they offer you an option to save it in PDF. I even printed it yesterday. Signature fields are blank so I don't know. I can only say that I just followed what Karma asked me to do. I am planning to fill out 2020 return in Karma just to see what and how they ask (of course, I am not filing with Karma anymore)
    Our 2019 return was very simple. Our 2020 return will be much more complicated.
     
  8. Marybell

    Marybell Law Topic Starter Member

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    thank you. The 2019 return was super simple. Financial damages include - not getting the refund in a timely manner, not getting the second stimulus payment on time, retaining someone (as you suggested) to deal with the situation. And who knows what IRS decision will be. Thank goodness, I paid state tax immediately when filed.
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    When you "signed", you signed on behalf of yourself and also on behalf of your spouse. That should have been your yellow flag and caused you to check more closely about how to handle the matter.
     
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  10. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Sigh.... What damages did you suffer for not getting your refund or the stimulus payment on time? At BEST (and it's a stretch), you might be entitled to some small amount of interest (unless you had some gigantic tax refund, which seems unlikely). By the way, it's a stretch because, among other things, you likely waived any potential claim when you agreed to the site's terms and conditions.
     
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  11. Marybell

    Marybell Law Topic Starter Member

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    Thank you both.
    So what are the opinions - should I file an amended return or should I just wait for IRS to say something else? What are the possible scenarios if I do nothing (since I already confirmed what they were asking)?
     
  12. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    It's hard to say since I didn't see how the return was filed nor do I know the exact details of your communications with the IRS about the matter. From the sound of it you answered the IRS inquiry about the matter, and that might resolve it. The key thing they need to resolve apparently is the conflict over how the return was signed. How that gets resolved depends on how the return was signed in the first place.
     
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  13. Marybell

    Marybell Law Topic Starter Member

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    My most reasonable guess is that it was signed as if my husband was alive (since the information about his passing didn't seem to go through during filing)
     
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Losing a spouse is a devastating experience.

    On top of your loss of a loved one and life partner, having to work through how your loss impacts you at tax time is a distressing task.

    The IRS has provisions to assist you with the change to your tax filing status.

    Why does your filing status matter?

    The status one uses determines the applicable income tax rates and standard deductions.

    If you’re a recent widow(er), you probably desire to file your taxes using the filing status that provides the lowest LEGAL tax owed to the government.

    What filing status options are available after the death of your spouse?

    1 = You could choose to use married filing jointly with your deceased spouse for the year of the death — unless you have remarried during that year.

    2 = If you remarried in the year of your spouse’s death, you can’t file jointly with your deceased spouse. You can use married filing jointly with your new spouse, however. You and your new spouse can also each use married filing separately. If a return is then required for your deceased spouse, use the married filing separately status.

    2A = For tax years before 2018 and after 2025, a surviving spouse with no gross income, can be claimed as an exemption as follows:

    IIa = Your deceased spouse’s individual return
    IIa = Your new spouse’s individual return
    IIa = If you file jointly with your new spouse, you can claim an exemption only on THAT particular joint return.

    QUALIFYING WIDOWER:
    You might choose to use this filing status for two tax years AFTER the death of your spouse. Note, however, you can’t use it for the year of your spouse's death.

    Filing as a Widow or Widower – Tax Guide • 1040.com – File Your Taxes Online

    What Tax Breaks Are Afforded to a Qualifying Widow?

    Kansas Department of Revenue - Frequently Asked Questions About Individual Income

    To qualify, you must meet these requirements:

    You qualified for married filing jointly with your spouse for the year he or she died. (It doesn’t matter if you actually filed as married filing jointly.)

    You didn’t remarry before the close of the tax year in which your spouse died.

    You have a child, stepchild, or adopted child you claim as YOUR dependent.

    (NOTE: This doesn’t apply to a foster child, however.)

    You paid more than half the cost of maintaining your marital home. This must be the PRIMARY home of your dependent child for the year, except for temporary absences.

    What is the standard deduction for a widow? The qualifying widow(er) standard deduction is the same as married filing jointly deduction.

    There are no additional tax breaks for widows, however the qualifying widow status means your standard deduction will DOUBLE the single status deduction.

    It might behoove you to discuss your 2019 return, as well as your 2020 tax return with a local CPA or tax lawyer.

    Finally:

    Social Security Widow Benefits
    Social Security is an important resource available, but to claim them, you must make an appointment with the local SSA office. You can’t apply for benefits online.

    A one-time payment of $255 can be paid to the surviving spouse if he or she was living with the deceased; or, if living apart, was receiving certain Social Security benefits on the deceased’s record.

    Monthly Social Security benefits may be available to a widow or widower age 60 or older (50 or older if disabled), a surviving divorced spouse in some circumstances and a widow/widower of any age who is caring for the deceased’s child who is under age 16 or disabled and already receiving benefits.

    If the deceased worked long enough under Social Security, the widow/widower can receive full benefits at the full retirement age or reduced benefits as young as 60. The amount of the benefit depends on the earnings of the deceased. The more they paid into Social Security, the greater the benefits.


    What Is the Disability Property Tax Exemption?
     
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  15. Marybell

    Marybell Law Topic Starter Member

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    Thank you Army Judge, this is very useful information
     
  16. Marybell

    Marybell Law Topic Starter Member

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    Would you please throw me some examples? The only one I can think of is BBB
    I didn't mean a lawsuit.
     
  17. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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  18. Marybell

    Marybell Law Topic Starter Member

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    Reading sad reviews. At least, they seemed to have received my return. Already good!
     
  19. Marybell

    Marybell Law Topic Starter Member

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    I have read about amended returns but I am not sure if this situation allows me to file one - ?
     
  20. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, you can do a web search as well as I can.
     

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