Apparently the IRS has begun the practice of seizing the tax returns of citizens in order to satisfy supposed debts of their parents to the government. It seems that they are not required to supply proof of said debt, nor are they giving effective prior notice before taking the money.
Tax payers now have another reason to attempt to pay only what is owed on their taxes so that no return is due after they file.
From the Washington Post comes a story of a woman whose tax return mysteriously disappeared into the bowels of the IRS. When she sought explanation, she was told that a social security overpayment (stemming from the death of her father) to her now-deceased mother was being collected from her, as the one of her remaining siblings who 1) has an income, and 2, could be located.
This woman, Mary Grice was able to file suit, in order to find out what was going on. It seems that the IRS initially seized the entire $4,462 tax returns, but after the Washington Post inquired about the case, some of this was returned, as the supposed debt was only for $2,996 dollars. Grice wants all of the money back, because she is not the one who incurred the supposed debt.
Get ready for some surprises from the IRS if anyone in your family has overdrawn government benefits. It seems that this new practice was authorized by the farm bill, 110th Congress Public Law 246, extending the ability to collect debts beyond. 10 years. In 2011, the Treasury dept started grabbing this money more agressively, and this year has collected $75 million on debts, which are more than 10 years old, and stopped a total of $1.9 billion from tax refunds.