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“Caught in Matrix of “Fraud” Software Upgrade at the DC Tax Department.”

by Prince Of Petworth March 23, 2017 at 1:15 pm 41 Comments

dc tax
Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull

“Dear PoPville,

I thought I would give everyone a heads up on an experience I just had.

I was thinking yesterday that I hadn’t received my DC tax return yet, so I went to MyTaxDC.com to check the status. It stated that my refund had been processed on February 24th. So, I called the office. An hour after being on hold they told me a very humorous story.

I moved in Sept 2016, so this address change was flagged by some new fraud software the tax department implemented. This flag cancels the direct deposit and cuts a paper check to send to the address they have in their “system”. The funny thing is, their fraud software does not update the new address in their “system” so the paper check is mailed to the OLD address.

Fortunately for me, I know the person living at my old address and they have the month old check. Unfortunately for others, one would have to put a STOP on the check. If said check has been cashed, then they must start a “fraud” investigation…all the while, your money is held up.

So, warning! If your addresses changed between your 2015 and 2016 returns are different and you filed your taxes early, this may happen to you!

Sincerely,
Caught in Matrix of “Fraud” Software Upgrade at the DC Tax Department.”

  • west_egg

    So…has this problem been addressed? Or is everyone who moved that year getting checks mailed to their old address without warning?

  • stacksp

    Might be a good idea to have your mail forwarded again to the new address just in case….

    • west_egg

      This would require USPS employees in the District to actually give a flying pig’s patoot about forwarding requests. In my experience they are ignored.

      • Reality

        It’s always worked fine for me.

        • anon

          You are a unicorn. It’s well known that forwarding and mail holds are routinely ignored or implemented incorrectly.

  • Akb

    I moved within DC in 2016 and this did not happen to me. I got my direct deposit really quickly!

    • Jay

      hmmm… I wonder if this correlates with other updates to your address with other DC government agencies. Did the OP get a new DC driver license with an updated address prior to filing taxes? If there’s been some other indication that you’ve moved, does that make it look less fraudulent to the city?

      (asks the person who moved in December, has a shiny new updated driver license and is requesting his tax refund this weekend)

      • Anon Spock

        You’d think that, but I bought a condo, and the same thing happened to me the previous tax year.
        The same agencyagency, DCRA, had my info, and they still sent it to my previous address.

      • kim slack

        Yup. New drivers license, forwarded my mail. I think it was because I filled early.

        • kim slack

          *filed

    • Pleasanter

      I think this applies to paper checks, not direct deposit.

      • AJSE

        I moved in Sept 2016, so this address change was flagged by some new fraud software the tax department implemented. This flag cancels the ******direct deposit****** and cuts a paper check to send to the address they have in their “system”.

        • AJSE

          (direct quote from OP)

    • Laws and Sausages

      I moved within DC in May. Typically got a direct deposit, but this year got a paper check mailed to my current address. And I haven’t changed my license yet. Who knows.

    • PJL

      Same here. I also moved in Sept. 2016 and got my direct deposit no problem.

      • I moved in April 2016 and have previously had my return direct deposited. They mailed a check this year to my new address. I have updated my address with the DMV, taxes…everyone. Mailed to the correct condo.

  • MinEdgewood

    Ugh I moved last year too, and I’m really hoping this doesn’t happen to me. If it does, will they cut you a new check as long as the old one hasn’t been cashed? (Also, this is SO DUMB.)

  • Anon

    Why did the person that you know, who lives at your old address, and you apparently are still in contact with, not inform you a month ago that they have a check for you?

    • Pleasanter

      Perhaps because they didn’t open someone else’s mail?

      • Anon

        Okay, but it was addressed to a person who used to live at that address, whom they know personally, and are still in contact with. Why wouldn’t they just call up the person and say “Hey, it looks like some of your mail was sent here and it is from the DC tax office, it’s probably important.” There is no need to open it.

      • Anon Spock

        Fair enough, but they received mail from dcra and sat on it for a month. I would hope that might trigger a “this could be important” response and a notification if you’re in touch with the person.

    • kim slack

      He told me I had mail over there. I just never picked it up. Not his fault, it was mine!

  • DC Tax

    Similar thing happened to me. I moved in October, filed my taxes and put direct deposit information but received a paper check. However, they did send it to my correct, new address.

    • Rich

      I didn’t move and they sent a paper check even though I requested direct deposit.

      • Northzax

        Me too. I did use a different tax prep software, maybe this triggered something? Still only took ten days, so not that worried.

  • gloomingdale

    Note: the site is mytax.dc.gov not a .com site.

  • Anon Spock

    This happened to me the previous tax year but not this year. Maybe because I went back to using the “old” address.

  • ET

    Last year I got a letter in the mail saying that because DC was trying to stop fraud that I had to call a number and answer a few questions correctly to get my refund. If I didn’t/couldn’t answer them correctly I had to provide a bunch of documentation to prove I was the person rightfully entitled to the money.

    Good in theory….. I have no problem with the idea because there are a lot of unsavvy people that do get defrauded and there are a lot of shitty people looking to steal. Except for one MAJOR problem. The databases/sources they used to create the questions rely on a number of source and that information actually has to be right. In my case they were WRONG.

    In the phone book I am listed under my last name and first initial. About 5 years ago the US Marshals were looking for someone whose last name is the same as mine and whose first name starts with the same letter. Needless to say when they were trolling systems looking for possibilities my information came up. I had phone calls and the Marshals even knocked on my door. This information got kept/replicated in wherever in the ether it is. When I called to answer the questions I got the first two right but the third question (and possibly the 4th) were connected to this person so I couldn’t get my refund without copying a bunch of of documents and either going in person or mailing it. I took a chance on mailing it in (with a letter telling them off that I wrote because it made me feel better) and did end up getting my refund a few weeks later. If this happens again I am just going to take off work and show up and give them a piece of my mind in person.

    • Anon NS

      I would have assumed the request that I call a number and provide “verifying” personal info was a scam, so I would have ignored it.

  • J

    I moved from VA to DC in 2016 and they cancelled my DD and sent me a paper check…but to the right address! I just moved again (within DC) and will be on the lookout for this next year.

  • domrep

    My tax person said that DC isn’t doing direct deposits this year, just checks which I found really odd and very archaic, but it is the DC government. So I didn’t think anything of it. I moved in June 2016 after I sold my place, did the whole change of address and forward. My mom did her taxes the same day I did and she got her check within a couple of weeks. I just got mine last week. Why? They sent it to my old address. Luckily the guy I sold it to seemed pretty chill and it got forwarded to my new address. I was freaking out b/c usually I get my federal tax return and the DC one at the same time, but this one took longer than expected.

    • Anon Spock

      I got a direct deposit from DC this year, so that’s not true.

    • PJL

      I also got direct deposit this year. Your tax person is incorrect.

    • Reality

      I got direct deposit as well.

  • Anon

    This doesn’t match my experience. I moved within the District last year since filing and got that letter saying that they were mailing paper checks but mine came on time. Which is more than I can say for the Feds…

  • Julia Vipsania

    Yes, this happened to me and I posted about it here earlier. I just mailed back the stop payment form, but it took me an eternity to even get it. Way to go, DC.

  • Reality

    My address changed between 2015 and 2016 and I have no problem whatsoever.

  • Anonymous

    This happened to us as well. We moved in 2015, have always done direct deposit. They sent it to our old address, then claimed they couldn’t put a stop order (we don’t know the new owner) and we’re at first vague about when or whether we would get a new check. We were livid, and husband raised hell and finally they “found” our check and sent us the “found check” to our current address. Feels like a total scam. And inept to send it to an address so old!

  • anon

    People, you don’t get a tax “return” you FILE a tax return, and if you overpaid, you get a tax REFUND.

  • Emily

    This is happening to me right now. It is infuriating. The customer service people are so incredibly rude – they had the audacity to blame me for this saying I never filed a change of address form with the government. Which I have never had to do previously, and my fiance did not have this problem (we moved from one place to the other together and filed on the same day both using TurboTax). I also got a new DC drivers license when I moved, so who the hell knows.

    Anyway the next step if you cannot track down the old check is to 1). call and wait on hold for 1.5 hours 2). be told its your fault 3). wait for them to mail you a paper form to complete 4). mail back that form to them 5). wait some more for them to place a hold on the check and “investigate” or some stupid shit like that 6). wait for them to reissue the refund.

    I’ll be lucky if I get this by Christmas.

  • Just Give Me My Money Back

    I moved in 2016. After about 3 weeks of not receiving my check, I called to see where my check was (45 minute hold time), they told me I had to wait a full 30 days before they could even issue me the stop check request paperwork. After the 30 days passed, I called back (another 45 minute hold time) they told me that I could either come down and pick up the paperwork or they could mail it to me. It took them 10 days for them to mail it to me. Also, they told me once they’ve processed the stop check request (4-6 weeks) they will NOT update me on whether the check was cashed or not. I would have to call back at some point during those 4-6 weeks to follow up. If the check hadn’t been cashed, they’ll issue me a check (which would take another couple weeks to get to me) or if it had been cashed, god help me… I would have to go to their fraud department and fill out some other form that would launch an investigation that would take months to resolve.

    I would say that I’m surprised by the level of ineptitude and borderline illegal activities of DC government… but I worked for them for 2 years.

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