CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Imagine filing for your tax return only to get a letter back from the IRS saying you're dead, and you're alive.
What's the big deal you ask? How about being taxed but not being able to get your tax refund or applying for a job only to have your Social Security number show you're deceased. Sandy Bellomy knows all too well what it's like to be the walking dead. She says she's been fighting to correct this mistake for 9 months with no end in sight.
"My tax preparer submitted my tax return electronically and it was rejected because I was deceased and she called me in a panic," said Sandy Bellomy.
Sandy Bellomy laughs because it's ridiculous, she is legally dead at least that's what the IRS keeps telling her.
"I had a feeling it had something to do with my late husband, he past away in 2012 and sure enough that's what it was," said Bellomy.
She says a supervisor at the Chattanooga IRS office told her she was mistakenly declared dead after her husband Ed of 35-years died of cardiac arrest.
"They told me pretty much it was a key stroke error," said Bellomy
You would think it would only take a few key strokes to fix the problem, or even just seeing in person that she's clearly alive and well, not a chance.
"They've asked for all kinds of proof besides my living self, my driver's license, everything. I've taken it to the IRS office and I've talked with numerous agents and the fraud department," said Bellomy.
After dozens of phone calls, emails and personal visits to the IRS to show that she is still breathing.
"I kept getting correspondence from the IRS ...me the deceased person kept getting correspondence," said Bellomy.
Letters basically saying sorry we can not complete your tax return because you're dead. Bellomy says she's had 4 tax returns denied since April. Making matters worse the IRS froze her account then sent it to be investigated by their fraud department..
"Well the lady in Kansas City, she told me there's a code on my name now associated with fraud. She said it just can't be undone, It's just not that simple. It's just scary how you can get mixed up with someone else ..so easy," said Bellomy
Bellomy received a letter from the IRS just last week, indicating she is deceased. Bellomy now has an IRS advocate agent working on her case. A spokesperson for the IRS tells Channel 3 "The Internal Revenue Service cannot discuss taxpayer matters due to the Federal disclosure laws. However, taxpayers who need assistance who haven't been able to resolve the problem through normal channels can contact the Taxpayer Advocate Office."
The toll free number to that office is 1-877-777-4778.