“I wanted to see if anyone else has received a similar letter?”

by Prince Of Petworth February 12, 2016 at 2:30 pm 112 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

Since I was stuck indoors for most of Snowzilla I decided to go ahead and do my taxes. I filed my DC tax return electronically as I’ve done in past years, however I received a letter from the DC Office of Tax and Revenue Refund Response Unit yesterday asking for a LOT of information in order to verify my identity. I assume this is part of OTR’s attempted to cut down on fraud/identity theft, but I wanted to see if anyone else has received a similar letter?”

Comments (112)

  1. They processed my direct deposit as a paper check this year. They blamed fraud, but they didn’t send me any request for info.
    Are you a new filer in D.C.?

  2. The op said s/he had filed the same way as s/he had done in previous years, so I’d lean towards no.

  3. I meant to say did something change in my case it was an address change that triggered the check?

  4. OP here! I did move/change addresses this year, so it would make sense if that is what is being used as a trigger. Thanks!

  5. I moved, too, last year and got the same letter.

  6. In order to combat identity theft fraud, all new direct deposit requests (taxpayers requesting a direct deposit for the first time) will receive a paper check.

  7. I got a similar one a few years ago. Ignored it at the time, and they eventually ended up depositing the refund into my account after a month or so anyway.

    Also got the paper check this year, for “fraud prevention” purposes

  8. I received this letter also. Seemed highly suspicious, though upon my research appears to be legitimate. This is not my first year filing in the District.

    I sent my info in yesterday.

  9. I sent my info in today as well did u receive any updates yet?

  10. I got this as well. I bet this will score DC money when people forgot or miss the 30 day deadline for filing.

  11. And they’re earning interest on it all, too, as long as it sits in their coffers.

  12. The documents they are requesting are the same ones DCPS parents have to produce in order to prove residency.

  13. We received a letter like that about a week after filing. Returns haven’t been processed yet.

  14. I read announcement several months back saying that on the state level tax refunds might be delayed due to new antifraud measures. Some states received a large number of fraudulent returns last year. Last week the State of Maryland embargoed several tax preparers as part of this, and anyone filing through those people has to provide additional information.

    Mine went through normally, but I used TurboTax.

  15. Yeah I used TurboTax also and got my DC refund in about six days. However, for the first time ever I was asked to supply my DC Driver’s license number as part of the TurboTax filing process.

  16. I just filed with H&R Block and they also had this section where I had to complete info with DC license/ID details.

  17. Yep, that’s the thing… FINALLY the IRS is getting with it and requiring ID and, in future years, a 5 digit pin for filing.

  18. IRS does not process state tax returns, only federal ones. If you live in DC you can request as IPPIN from the IRS for your federal return. Unsure if states have implemented any anti-fraud measures like the IPPIN.

  19. If you can get all this filed with them online I’d just do it to be safe, but I would never put these things in the mail all together.

  20. Curious why OTR is requesting the same set of documents that are required to prove DC residency. Who in the right mind would want to fraudulently file in D.C when 45 other States have lower tax rates?

  21. Undocumented people who reside in DC?

  22. Also, undocumented immigrants can legally file tax returns. They just use a Tax Identification Number instead of a SSN. Many do in anticipation of legalizing and having those earnings count toward future social security benefits, having a history of being a law-abiding, tax-paying resident, or in the event we do have CIR paying less of a penalty for back taxes.

  23. That’s not the form of fraud we’re talking about here. The form of fraud we’re talking about here is filing bogus information, under not your own identity but somebody else’s identity, and using it to get a refund deposited into your account. The tax rates are irrelevant when the information provided is bogus in the first place. The logical place to commit such fraud is the jurisdiction least likely to catch you, and although I do not really know, I wouldn’t be surprised if DC is perceived, quite possibly correctly, to be such a place.

  24. Ahh got it. Thanks for chipping away a sliver of my naivete!

  25. This happened to a friend of mine several years ago. When she filed her *federal* taxes, she was “informed” that she had already filed and that the IRS had already issued “her” refund (to somebody else). She was able to get it straightened out eventually, but it took a lot of work on her part to do so.

  26. I guess that’s another reason to get taxes done early! I guess it makes sense that that might happen but I would have never thought of it as a possibility.

  27. I think eva is partially right. I didn’t realize this until I did some googling –


    “The IRS says that illegals can file and claim refunds for the last three years under the Earned Income Tax Credit. That is the same refundable tax credit that is responsible for billions in fraudulent refunds. ”

    I could see why DC is trying to crack down on this.

  28. The law Congress passed at the end of last year puts an end to being able to claim a refundable credit (earned income credit, additional child tax credit and educational credit) for a prior year unless the person (or child) had a valid SSN or ITIN by the due date of the original return. This is for federal tax purposes. Not sure if states will piggyback on this for state tefundable credits.

  29. About 2 years ago my wife got similar letters from Louisiana and Massachusetts, where she’s never lived. This kind of fraud is big business.

  30. It’s not about lower tax rates it’s about fraudulently collecting a tax refund.

  31. It’s not that people who live in MD or VA are claiming they live in DC. It’s people from wherever who are using other people’s names and SSNs (usually people who don’t need to file, like SSI recipients and the unemployed) and trying to get refunds. A classic way to do this is to report a low amount of self-employment income and then claim the earned income tax credit. OTR figures that an identity thief might have your name and SSN, but not the other proofs or residency.

  32. Hi, I’m sure this was explained in a previous comment, but I want to provide support to OP. I received this last year and was a little alarmed. After hours of being placed “on hold” with the auditor’s office, I finally spoke with someone who said this is legitimate and routine. I found out later from a friend they had the same letter sent to them last year. I believe they do this to spot-check DC residents since it is such a transient area. Needless to say, I filled it out, sent it in, and never heard from them again.

  33. “On hold” because the call was disconnected 4 times and I had to call back.

  34. Thanks Cait! I sent in my documents today via certified mail so hopefully that should settle everything. Glad to know I’m not alone!


  35. Out of state license

    I never bothered to obtain a DC driver’s license. My only state or local government issued photo ID is an out-of-state driver’s license (not expired or anything like that). I can provide 8/9 of the additional requested items. Will they hold my out-of-state license against me, or do I need to beeline for the DMV?

  36. I talking to the customer hotline and they said that an out of state licences is fine. They are just using it for verification purposes. The other two documents should be sufficient to verify your residency.

  37. Hardly the only annoyance. I decided to do my return in longhand this year. The fillable forms (a contract to Intuit that needs a better administrator) are counter-intuitive in places (don’t let let you enter things you should be able to enter). Doing it with a pen took about 15 minutes and was much less frustrating.

  38. Another related post: https://www.popville.com/2015/05/delays-in-dc-tax-refunds/. (It sounds like processing became sharply more dysfunctional last year.)

  39. Question for those receiveing this letter: Do you have a DC ID and/or the new “Real ID?”

  40. Yes – I have the new Real ID, which I got last year after when I moved and had to update my address. I assumed I got the letter because I moved.

  41. I wasn’t asked to verify info, but they also issued a paper check for my refund, even though I filed requesting direct deposit. I’ve been at the same residence for the entire time I’ve been in DC. Last year they took months after I filed to process my refund. I called to inquire and the rep said they wouldn’t issue via direct deposit because my bank account number was only 5 digits. I stated its a credit union and verified all my info. I finally got my refund via direct deposit within the next two weeks. Seems like DC needs to get a better handle on their tax and revenue office.

  42. Last year it took months to get my DC refund. When I called, in June to ask why, the staffer said that my self-reported taxes withheld didn’t match my W-2. Well, there’s a reason for that: an IRA account from which I have to take withdrawals (I inherited it from a parent) also withheld DC taxes. Yep, they appeared on a 1099-R which I also filed with my taxes. No error whatsoever. Oh, you’re right, replied the staffer. It still took another 4 weeks to get the refund. (I wonder how long it would’ve taken if I hadn’t called?)

    I hate to admit it, but the experience encouraged me to reduce my withholding. I’d rather owe taxes and write a check, than qualify for a refund and deal with a dysfunctional agency.

  43. i had to do this the first time i filed in DC (well technically i was supposed to, but the form was sent to the wrong address and had to call in to take care of it). but yes this was normal if you’re new here — not sure if you’ve done it before

  44. The District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue has implemented two new programs to improve protection of taxpayers’ identities when filing their DC income tax returns.

    OTR is using the automated identity verification services of LexisNexis to help confirm the identities of all District taxpayers due a refund in 2016.

    Information will be submitted to the LexisNexis identity verification database. Some taxpayers will be selected to confirm their identities. Those selected will receive a letter from OTR with instructions of how to take the Identity Confirmation Quiz. It is important that those required to take the quiz contact our agent, InterGlobal at 1-800-343-2778.

    Refunds—including the refunds of taxpayers who took the Identity Confirmation Quiz—should still be received within 10 to 14 days if the taxpayer filed electronically.

    Fraud Management:
    As an additional level of protection, other taxpayers will be selected to confirm their identities. Those selected will receive a letter from OTR with a request for additional documentation.

    Taxpayers who may have concerns regarding the letters, should contact OTR’s Customer Service Administration at (202) 727-4TAX (4829).

    To learn more about how to protect your identity during this tax season, visit OTR’s website at otr.cfo.dc.gov.

    Natalie Wilson
    Public Affairs Specialist
    Office of Tax and Revenue

  45. My return was accepted 1 Feb. I received a letter (after living here at the same address for five years). I complied with the demands.

    Now, when I enter my information, there is no record.

    So how much more time must I waste for this improvement?

    Should be entertaining when everyone starts complaining in April.

  46. I’m having the same issue — new DC resident but, I’ve switched ID and all of my car registration information, etc as soon as I moved here. I filed my taxes on 2/9 and they were accepted the same day. I was able to see my information in the OTR system up until yesterday on 2/17. I haven’t received a paper form in the mail so I’m waiting to see if it’ll arrive soon. Otherwise, I’m not looking forward to sitting on the phone or having to drag myself to the OTR to figure out what is going on. All I really want is the money that is owed to me.

  47. how long does a person have to wait once they walk their documents in?? I was told 30 to 45 days which doesn’t make since to me.. Especially if you turn in the required documents.. Its like people hard earned money that they are entitled too is up in the air. Some people depend on their hard earned tax return funds.. I understand that DC Tax office is trying to crack down on fraud but if you turn in your documents why take so long to release a person hard earn cash that entitled to them. Does the Mayor know how long this process is

  48. Yes I have the same letter . I have out of state aiD As well but I do have all of my DC documents to prove residency and a passport issued in DC. Some people say they dont respond and still get paid but I would be sure to verify jusy so you can avoid any future issues.

  49. My husband and I have lived in the same apartment for the past 13 years. No address changes at all. I filed both of our returns electronically and I received my refund with no problems, but he got this letter. I filed with the same tax software as I have been for 6 years now. We both got our federal refunds without even a second glance and as a lifelong resident of DC, this is utterly unnecessary. Especially for people who file the same way with no changes to any information.

  50. I RECEIVED A LETTER ABOUT 3 weeks ago and mailed it off the next day. I DID MY TAXES BACK IN JANUARY AND STILL HAVENT RECEIVED MY MONEY WHY SHOULD I BE Penalize for something they are doing and have to wait 30 days for it to be process that is not fair at all. I BEEN LIVING AT MY ADDRESS FOR OVER 13 years. I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WAIT A ADDITIONAL 30 days for something I worked for.

  51. did you file your taxes electronically??

  52. They said if you filed electronically it would take 10 days and another person said 45days … I walked my information in last week. Hopefully we wont have to wait much longer. I think that its crazy that you have to wait for your hard earned money that’s entitled to you. Once you turn your documents in I believe that you should receive your hard earn cash,..

  53. What I completely do not understand is if you have any offsets like to DMV or child support or DHS, those agencies received their money as soon as your tax return was processed by OTR. Why is there a 30-45 day processing time? Processing what exactly? If you research a taxpayers history and they have been filing the same way and have made no changes to SSN or address then what in the world would cause it to take 30-45 days? This is utter DC shenanigans at it’s very core. Fed up with this city is putting it mildly.

  54. This is so irritating I will be contacting the Mayor about this if you turn your documents in why do you still have to wait an additional 30 days. I believe that for holding your hard earned money that interest should be added on to it. this is my hard earned money and I have to wait additional time to receive it get out of here.

  55. I am having the SAME issues as others with DC OTR! They have had my return since January 20th, and when i got the letter a week or so later, I mailed them in the next day. That was about 2-3 weeks ago! Everytime I call, there is a runaround. NO ONE can even tell me if they at least recieved my paperwork! They tell me I have to call the REFUND RESPONSE TEAM, who NEVER answers the phone, and DOES NOT return calls! I have left messages twice and no response. THIS IS COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!

  56. I call both number the customer service dont tell you anything at all. and thst rapid reponse office and a joke to me because when you they do answer its always a different turn around time with them and also come on they should a answer for us by now about our papework being process. Its not like we sending mail to another state. I will be calling the mayor office and council office monday because this dosent make any since.

  57. did the customer service tell you if they received your information yet or not? I just emailed the Mayor maybe she would see what the problem is. Every time I call the refund response unit I get the voice mail I left one I dont see no reason to keep leaving hundreds of messages if they dont even respond to the phone calls.

  58. I’m glad I’m not the only one in our sad, tired, broke lifeboat.

    I did my taxes on 1/29. DC accepted them same day. I received the letter within 5 days. I made all the copies and sent everything in on the very next Monday., but haven’t heard anything.

    I’m three day shy of a month. I was supposed to receive my money by the 19th, and that was last week.

    I want my money.

  59. I just via emailed the Mayor about this hopefully she would help use all out with this. This is crazy its like our money is being held up.

  60. has anyone heard anything yet?? If you call the refund response unit do the even answer/

  61. No… I been calling since 8:30 the customer said all lines are busy please call back later. The refund response line the voice mail is coming on as usual. It must be a lot of people caling most likely complainig… It dosent make since that we have to wait like this for our money our people work should already have been processed and when they get our documents they should go ahead and send our money why do we have to wait 30 days… And i sent mine going on 4 weeks now. And have no info in there system saying it was receive..This is ridiculous!!!!!

  62. Thats why I walked mines in I see that someone emailed the Mayor about this thats what Im about to do now I have been calling the refund unit and no answer only the voice mail Im going to try the customer service line to see if I can get a supervisor


  64. I just got off the phone with the customer service line and was told that they started reviewing my case on the 26th I walked my documents in on the 17th I will call back next week to check again if my refund isnt received by the week is out. I was told by the customer service rep that they have been receiving alot of complaints. I would recommend that people walk their documents in and not mail them in

  65. I was told very specifically by the OTR that I COULD NOT bring my documents in, that I HAD TO MAIL THEM!

  66. I WAS TOLD THAT AS WELL…. but last week when I spoke to this refund response line she asked me did I walked them in or mailed. They didnt say nowhere on the letter that we can walk it in. And I see now that those people that walked them in is being processed faster then those that are mailed and I mailed mine the end of January. They are processing those that are mailed in like we did ours for the first time. And that is not fair at all. We are using the same P.O Box address just if I just wanted my refund my mail …

  67. I walked mines in myself on Feb 17th and the representative initialed by what documents I turned in on the letter date stamped it and gave me a copy I was there for 10 minutes waiting to be seen. Did you keep a copy of your letter? I would highly recommend walking the information in at least you will be for sure that you turned the information in and have documentation that they received what was needed.

  68. i can’t get the SO-CALLED refund response team to ANSWER OR RETURN MY CALL! They say they will get back toy you in 24 hours, or the next business day. LIES! I have left two messages over the last week and a half, and NO RETURN CALL. These people have had my taxes since JANUARY 20TH!

  69. Just got off the phone with someone in the refund response unit and was told that my information was received and that it could take 30 to 45 days for me to receive my return bc the are sooo busy.. I will be emailing Mayor Bowers about this. This is my money that is entitled to me and its being held and it inst fair.

  70. She just told me the same thing. I emailed the mayor yesterday. That is so wrong why should we have to wait if u got my info you to go ahead and process it, they had my original paperwork since January all they have to do is verify my documents. Im PISSED just about now.

  71. did she tell you when and if they received your information?

  72. THEY HAVE BEEN GIVING ME THE RUN AROUND. This morning when I called the refund response office the lady stated to me that they received my documents. But when I called back to confirm another lady told me they have not received them Im really getting tired of this I emailed the mayor already.

  73. I emailed the Mayor yesterday and today. The refund response unit told me the process is 30-45 days not excluding weekends and holidays.. I don’t understand why it would take so long when processing returns don’t even take that long.

  74. I JUST RECEIVED A EMAIL FROM THE CFO FROM TAX AND REVENUE. AND THEY STATED IT WILL TAKE UP TO 30 to 45 days for processing… If you dont received your refund by then contact that refund response number… I guess everyone that left a comment will received this email.

  75. Lucky You I didn’t receive an email

  76. You probably get one because I been leaving comments on here for a while….

  77. Do you have the refund response unit number? I am going through the same hell with this and I filed my taxes with TurboTax on Feb. 2nd. I physically walked my identity verification documents into the OTR office and now I’m on hold with them, for a second day now. This is a nightmare.

  78. 202 741 8629

  79. Ok, I get the 30-45 day thing… They obviously aren’t budging on that, but 30-45 days FROM WHAT DATE??? I can’t even get anyone to tell me if they at least even got my paperwork! I sent it close to a month ago!!!

  80. Same here im just tired of calling just about know. I.DID EMAIL THE MAYOR but dont know how that is going to fix anything. And I dont know either they dont tell u amything when u do talk to someome just 30 to.45 days. This is ridicolous!!!!!

  81. 30-45 days from when the refund response unit receives it they log them in once they receive them but dont process it and 30-45 days does not include weekends as I was told .

  82. IT IS!!!! I just called the customer service center again, and the lady said they need hard copied of my w-2 I EMAILED THOSE TO THEM OVER A MONTH AGO!!!!!!! Luckily I had the name of the person I dealt with, but who knows what good that will do with these people. VERY UNORGANIZED!!!!!!!

  83. Refund question

    Can anyone post when they receive their return.. thanks

  84. That would be great! Although it seems at the rate we are going, that won’t happen possibly for months!!!

  85. SURE I will and JT is rite the rate they are going I probably wont see anything til next month because my info is still not in the system then its going to be mailed not diect deposit so that will me take more time. FEED UP!!!!

  86. Hi Very Upset,

    So have they not been able to confirm they got your paperwork either? That is THE MOST frustrating thing in all of this. I sent mine to them almost a month ago and they just keep saying “Maybe they have it, and just haven’t updated the system” MAYBE???????? Sheesh!

  87. HELLO
    THEY BEEN TELLING ME THAT FOR THE LONGEST TIME i called today and was told that today they probably got it but have not input in the system yet. Talking about they have so many to put in the system like I really care Im talking about my info that should have been done by now. I.JUST HUNG UP!!!!

  88. Pissed the f off

    They said it’s a note in the system saying they got mines on the 26 when I walked mine in on the 16 this is rediculious how long does it take to verify information I didn’t have this problem with my federal and I emailed the mayor no response yet they need to release everyone money they holding it when they have our information they probably processing 2 a day and I don’t get how it takes 7 to 10 days to process the return but 30 to 45 to verify documents crazy

  89. Pissed the f off

    Why isn’t yours being direct deposit?


  91. More grist for the mill: They told me that any change, including a change in income, could trigger these identification verification letters. They also told me that the rapid (she called it “refund”) response unit was overwhelmed and that I should wait many weeks before trying to call them. It’s been a month since I sent in my ID verification letter and more than that since I filed …

    This seems to be such a general problem, I wrote my Councilman about it. Not holding my breath.

    Grrrr. Yours in anger …

  92. Pissed the f off

    Did they even say if they received your information

  93. I CALLED THIS MORNING THEY STILL HAVE NOT RECEIVED OR THE TERM THEY PUT IT NOT IN THE SYSTEM YET. SHE TOLD ME TO CALL NEXT WEEK. BUT IF YOU MAILED IT YOU MITE BE WAITING ABOUT 3 more weeks.. This is ridiculous. Even people that walk them in is not process yet. What are they doing. They telling some people a received date that they put in the system but how much longer we have to wait when they do get our documents anorher 30 to.45 days… The mayor and council need to know what is going on…

  94. You should take some deep breaths. This is not healthy.
    Also, talk to your HR department, and increase the number of exemptions you are claiming on your DC return. That way they withhold less money, and you will get more money each paycheck, and a smaller return when you file next year.

  95. They implied it (went through a process of looking me up, confirm details, asking when I mailed it, etc), but didn’t explicitly state it. Had I come back to this thread before calling, I’d have asked directly. Now I guess I’ll wait until next time I have time to call and cross my fingers until then. Certainly wouldn’t be surprised if they lost it …

  96. I have been waiting for almost a month now I was told by a Ms.Coleman that they were counting the days from when the RR-UNIT stamps it in and your to count 30-45 days and you should call if you don’t hear anything or receive a check in the mail by then. It seems like the calling doesn’t make them move faster either

  97. Pissed the f off

    I called to double check and they are mailing out paper checks even if you elected to have direct deposit this is a mess


  99. Does anyone else think that we have the same guy posting under 8 different handles? So far it seems “very upset”, “Pissed off”, “jT”, “Concerned”, “refund needed”, “Hella pissed”, “Pissed the F off” and “AnonJohn” are likely all the same person.

  100. I can only speak for myself, but I’m not the other people … there are some stylistic differences that make me think the others are not all identical, although some of them could be. I’m feeling like my use of capitalization and (mostly) punctuation has been unappreciated!

    Also: “very upset” posted the rapid response number in response to a question from “Hella pissed”. Seems like an odd artifice to choose.

    I’m curious as to how widespread this is. The delay times associated with processing fairly simple paperwork seem more likely due to volume than pure incompetence, although I’m sure that doesn’t help.

  101. That’s fair – you were the last (and least likely one) I included. My apologies. I agree, you have used punctuation, capitalization where appropriate, and have not used all caps – I still think the other 7 are the same!

  102. :)

    Happy Friday. And thanks for your efforts to prevent tax-related heart attacks in popville.

  103. In my opinion it seems that they all just want their money

  104. I am a single person. I have posted several times on this thred under jT or JT since I forgot to put the caps on!

  105. Just want everyone who has been waiting to know that RR Unit had my documents since the 29th. I called today and my information is being reviewed I will post when I receive my refund :)

  106. Has anyone posted any complaints via social media? Sometimes that helps too. I received the same letter and send my documents back 2 days later certified mail. I was able to get customer service on the phone once but they never verified if they received my documents. Been trying to call everyday for the past two weeks. Refund response office and customer service and got automated messages…smh. I want my money!

  107. I just called to check my review status and the reprentative from the RR Unit 2027418629 was about to able my information said I shall revive my return within 7 to 10 days.. I have been waiting for this forever.. I will post when I actually receive my check..

  108. We filed our taxes 1/24. We never got the ID verification letter, I called to find out where my refund was and they told me over the phone we had to send in verification info. I don’t understand why. Same job, same dependents, same income, same address, same SS #, same direct deposit to the same bank, everything is the same as last year and the year before that, etc. We sent everything in and they said they received it all on 2/24. Now everytime I call I get the same answer 30-45 days. For what? I gave you what you asked for. Now Give us our damn MONEY!!

  109. That’s how every one feel wanting our money… I just so see why it takes so long.. I called everyday to check my status.


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