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Tax fraud victims face a long road to correct issue

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LEAWOOD, Kan. -- Police departments all around the metro are reporting high numbers of identity thefts centering on tax returns.

"Saturday morning we received a letter that was quite unexpected," said Chet Hanson, who received a revised tax return in the mail.

"We had not filed our taxes, we were surprised it had been revised already," Hanson said.

On top of that, there was a balance of more than $22,000 due by April 15th.

"I don`t know what your petty cash is like, but ours was not ready to sustain that kind of a hit," added Hanson, who said the letter also stated they did not pay any withholding taxes during the year.

But his wife is a physician, and works for a practice owned by a hospital, which does take out taxes.

"It didn't represent our withholding tax, it didn't represent our proper income for the year, so it had nothing to do with anything in reality, how they did not notice such a severe departure from what we usually do is rather remarkable," Hanson said.

"It's very common this time of year, we actually have identity theft throughout the year, but it usually picks up during the tax time," said Detective John Freeman with the Leawood Police Department.

He says these types of reports have increased slightly this year.

"The IRS makes it easier every year for regular citizens to get their money, unfortunately that also makes it easier for the bad people to get their returns also," added Det. Freeman.

Hanson said he called his accountant and was given list of steps to take to correct this issue. He says he was told it could take six months or more to get this resolved.

"It's going to be pretty hard to deal with all that, because you always have other things you spent your money on already and plan for," Hanson added, "It`s just a speed bump in life and we`ll get through it."

Det. Freeman recommends filing your tax return as soon as possible -- that gives criminals less time to file tax returns using your information.

A spokesman for the IRS says anyone victimized will be given a PIN for the following year that goes along with your tax return to prevent theft from happening again.

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