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Why can’t victims of tax fraud speak to the IRS?

Posted at 7:35 PM, Feb 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-11 08:33:59-05

RICHMOND, VA -- It is a problem that has resulted in several emails to the CBS 6 newsroom.

People who log on to tax preparation websites only to discover someone else has fraudulently filed their return.

"I'm just dumbfounded -- I don't know what I need to do next," Robin Tignor said.

Tignor believes her identity was stolen and someone has successfully filed her refund. Tignor discovered the error after she logged onto Turbotax Monday night.

What has Tignor even more upset is that she cannot  speak to anyone within the IRS. When she calls the hotline, no one one answers and is often told they cannot complete her phone call at this time.

"It is, 'we will put you on hold for 15, 20, 30 minutes minimum to speak to somebody' and that is yet to happen," Tignor said.

It is why some Virginians have decided to skip the phone call process all together and go to the IRS office in downtown Richmond. Leonard Brown did just that.

"I had to come down here," Brown said. "I tried leaving messages nobody called me back."

CBS 6 reached out to the IRS for comment. The media team did sent us a letter written by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

"This is the lowest level of funding since 2008, and the lowest since 1998 when inflation is considered," Koshinen wrote. "We have no choice but to do less with less."

That means the IRS will have a harder time auditing, implementing identity theft protections, and  issuing refunds.

But, the explanation from the IRS means little to Robin Tignor as she tries to deal with identity theft.

"That's just unacceptable, the federal government gets plenty of your tax money and there should certainly be someone there who can help," Tignor said.