Who knew part-time work at a thrift store could be so lucrative? Donna Smith was shocked to discover a tax bill from the IRS claimed she owned $216 million in taxes from the modest $10-an-hour job.
The bill was obviously a mistake, but one that managed to make its way back into Smith’s hands for her to remedy herself. The woman’s mother used TurboTax to prepare her taxes and entered everything correctly, so there was no fault on her part. The glitch happened after Smith and a handful of additional Colorado TurboTax customers submitted their e-files and millions were added to their tax bills. Taxpayers who happened to keep a copy of what they submitted through TurboTax were able to work with the Colorado Department of Revenue to correct the error. Those who didn’t keep a copy are now on the hook to amend their returns.
It’s another cautionary tale for taxpayers. Always keep copies of what you submit and pay attention to all IRS letters that arrive in the mail. The IRS and state taxing authorities make mistakes all the time; only most are more easily overlooked than a $216 million bill. DIY filing using software like TurboTax adds another layer of risk and complication because both filing and handling the “clean up” is entirely on your shoulders when you, your software provider, or a taxing authority makes a mistake.
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