‘No form for their screwup’: IRS mails wrong return

IRS, wrong tax returns
Kevin Irwin says the IRS mailed him the tax return of strangers when he requested his father's. (Oct. 6, 2017)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Imagine opening a package from the IRS and finding someone else’s tax return inside.

That’s exactly what happened to an Allegan County man. He turned to Target 8 when he couldn’t contact the IRS to make it right.

“I’m really kind of befuddled by the whole thing,” Kevin Irwin said.

Irwin helps care for his father and ordered a copy of his father’s 2016 tax return as part of estate planning. A return came this week in the mail, but it wasn’t the one he was expecting.

“I opened it up and found we had someone else’s tax return,” Irwin said. “The numbers are completely different than they should have been. I then looked up to the top to find out its a joint tax return for a couple in Minnesota.”

IRS, wrong tax returns. Kevin Irwin, Jack Irwin
Kevin Irwin (left) and his father Jack Irwin hold the wrong tax returns they received from the IRS. (Oct. 6, 2017)

The return of more than 20 pages wasn’t for Irwin’s father, but rather for a couple who live in Dennison, Minnesota. It included not only the couple’s Social Security numbers, but also the numbers for their children as well, along with income, investments and even the couple’s bank account and routing number.

Irwin called the number for the Grand Rapids IRS office. He contacted Target 8 after having trouble getting an appointment.

“You have to have a form to make an appointment. Well, they don’t have a form for their screwup, so how do I make an appointment?” Irwin asked. “They don’t have a form for their screwup. They do for ours, but they don’t for theirs, because apparently they don’t make them. Well, I have a big one here.”

On top of his concern about getting someone else’s tax return, Irwin wonders if his father’s was sent to the wrong place, too.

“Did they actually get a copy of theirs and we got a copy of theirs? Or do they have my dad’s? Or do they have Joe Smith’s? I mean, how many people did this happen to on that particular day that these were sent out?” Irwin asked.

Target 8 tracked down the Minnesota couple and spoke to one of them by phone.

“I never called and asked for a copy of my tax return,” the taxpayer, who Target 8 is not identifying, said. “I’m definitely shocked and upset.”

The man said he has no idea why the IRS would mail out a copy of his tax return.

“I’m very upset and hurt because that’s powerful information,” he said.

Target 8 reached out to the IRS, which is taking a look into the situation. It’s still not clear why the wrong return was mailed to the Irwins. It’s not yet known if the elder Irwin’s tax return was mailed to the wrong address or not mailed out at all. His family is concerned about possible identity theft as a result of the mistake.

“Where’s his, who’s got it?” the younger Irwin wondered. “Do we really need to be monitoring everything or what do we need to do to stop anything from going wrong — have somebody clean out his accounts?”

Irwin also wonders how the IRS will be able to make this right.

“The IRS is really quick to come after us for mistakes, but how do we reverse the process when they foul up?” he said.

The Minnesota taxpayer said he spent nearly an hour on hold Friday afternoon trying to speak with someone from the IRS, only to be eventually hung up on. He has spoken to Irwin about his return and what they will do with it to make sure the family’s information remains private.