I’m an Idiot: 2007 Tax Edition
Thanks to Single Ma for posting the links to various “Where’s My Refund” sites, including Maryland’s. By using the site, I was able to learn that my return was accepted, but that I was not getting my state refund! I could have waited for the letter to arrive to explain why, but thanks to the internet, I decided to be proactive.
So I called the Maryland Comptroller (1-800-MD-TAXES) to get some answers. Luckily I just had to go through a few phone prompts (compared to the SSA, which I’ll complain about soon) and I got to an agent in about 5 minutes. The sum of the conversation is that some rule changed in October and now I need proof of Stacie’s name change when we got married. According to them, I needed to call the Social Security Administration (SSA) to get proof of the name change. I could have sworn we did the name change at the SSA in Rockville 4 years ago (which we did).
So I hung up and called the SSA. First I’d like to hunt down and torture the person who invented the voice-prompt phone system. Why in the world would I want to speak my (or Stacie’s) SSN, date of birth and correct spelling of her name to a computer? I share an office and I had to whisper everything I said. Sure, I could have waited till I left work, but then the SSA would be closed. I could have gone into a conference room, but I had no idea how long I would be on hold on my cellphone, and my battery was low. So I just stayed put and hoped my officemate wasn’t a scam artist.
Second, I want to repeat how much I want to hurt the person who invented the voice-prompt system. I don’t think I can stress this enough. I’m sitting there barking out random responses to their phone while people around me wonder who the heck I’m talking to. Seriously, switch back to a system where I can just push numbers. But I digress.
Ok, we’re getting closer to why I’m an idiot. Once I finally got through to the SSA agent and gave him Stacie’s SSN (or the one I filed with and thought was right), he replied back that her SSN didn’t exist in the system. I was stumped for a few seconds, but then asked him to switch two of the numbers. After confirming her personal information, he replied that the second SSN was the correct one.
Crap, I filed the state tax return with the wrong SSN for Stacie!
But then I tried to recall whether I had the right SSN for her on the federal return. You see, I completed the taxes in Turbotax, but it wouldn’t let me efile MD taxes for some reason so I used the MD Comptroller iFile system (which is free to file). And since I owed federal taxes, I just mailed in the form (why pay to eFile when I owe money?).
I quickly logged into the MD iFile and completed and filed an amended return in under 5 minutes (it’s very simple and I’ve had to do it before in their system). But when I got home from work yesterday, I opened up Turbotax and bam!, there was the wrong SSN staring back at me.
Crap, I filed the federal tax return with the wrong SSN for Stacie!
This morning, I called up IRS to find out the status of my return. I waited for 20 minutes to speak with the Accounts department, and while they hadn’t processed the return yet, they did inform me that I should just wait for them to reply back to me before filing an amended return (1040X), because processing an amended return takes 8-12 weeks and would seriously delay things. So now I’ll wait another 2-3 weeks for a response. They’ll either just send a letter or send the entire return back to me. If it’s the latter, then I can just correct the information and resubmit the same forms (no 1040X).
So the lesson learned here is to not just pay attention to your income and expense numbers, but also your personal information. Make sure you’re submitting the right SSN for you, your spouse and your dependents because it could cause a delay in processing, or worse. Don’t be an idiot like me and overlook something so simple.