Finances & Money

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.

About the author

Clever Dude


  • I did this about 4-5 years ago and didn’t notice one of my kids’ SSN #s was reversing 2 digits the same way you did.

    I’d used turbotax efile, and it came back a couple days later with the whole rejected message. The thing that surprised me about your situation was the amendment form. I just fixed my error and re-submitted and everything turned out OK for me. Though maybe I’m just forgetting and turbotax generated one automatically for me or something.

    I tell you what though, I’ve quadruple-checked all the SSN #s every years since! 😀

  • I did the same thing a few years ago with my daughter’s ssn. I was able to fix it over the phone but I didn’t get my tax return til JUNE! What a pain.

  • Single Ma: I would still be filing by April 15th, but they wouldn’t process until after. But if I’m just correcting the regular 1040 I submitted at first, then it wouldn’t be an amended return. Luckily I don’t have any amounts to change, just the SSN.

  • Oof. I probably looked over our return 3-4 times to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Our tax system is so complicated, it seems inevitable that you will miss something eventually.

    Best of luck in getting it cleared up.

  • I hate doing taxes and the personal information is something I quickly go over. This shows me I should spend more time and make sure everything is right.

  • I almost never play along with voice-prompter computer thingies on the telephone – I play the part of the daft “no speaka de english” old person and jabber things like “Person person person person” into the computer until they stop saying “I’m sorry I can’t make out what you’re saying, could you please repeat it” and start say “I’m having trouble making out your words, I’m going to put you through to an operator who can help you further.”

    Also – with button operated ones I just push the hash key repeatedly until they work out that I’m not playing with their system and get through to a human.

  • I’d have to agree with the feeling of wanting to strangle the person who came up with the phone system. I’m on the phone with the IRS/SSA and various state tax departments all the time. YUCK! I’m also one of those people, like Brent, who does not play with the system well….

    You do not have to file by April 15th to get your economic stimulus check. For more information on the stimulus visit and follow the link provided on their page.

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