June 16, 2024

A seemingly friendly, no-appointment-required Saturday at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office in Detroit turned into an ordeal of long hours in endless queues that stretched through downtown Detroit streets. The Michigan Avenue was littered with hundreds of people who stood outside for more than five hours, catching the attention of Detroit police as well as personnel from Homeland Security and IRS Criminal Investigations.

Early birds were seen with lawn chairs and fleece blankets, some accompanied by their young kids, at the ungodly hours of the morning waiting for the IRS McNamara Federal Building office to open. Some said that they had arrived as early as 10 p.m. the previous night with hopes of securing a good spot. Although the IRS started attending to the people at 9 a.m., they turned many away due to the overwhelming numbers.

Necessity to verify identities at the Detroit IRS office

Many visitors said that they had been directed by the IRS to present themselves for identity verification in order to process their tax refunds. This came after attempts to verify their credentials over phone calls were countered with requests for physical appearances. Some had filed their 2023 tax returns as early as February and were still awaiting refunds. However, no changes had presented in their financials though they still had to prove their identities.

The IRS had scheduled four appointment-free Saturday events for the tax season running through February, March, April and May. These were meant to complement their typical Monday through Friday assistance that is only accessible by appointments. The desperation to get taxes sorted is evidenced by a need to juggle between freezing in line and missing out on important schedules, as was the case for Pia Smith who hoped to get her identity verified within the IRS normal operating hours.

Tax Refunds Delay Lead To Confusion

Many individuals, like Lattrell Mapp who arrived at around 3:15 a.m. to verify her identity, were eagerly waiting for their 2023 tax refunds and in some cases, their 2022 refunds as well. She expressed the financial strain of having her bills pile up while waiting for her government refunds. Interestingly, she had to amend her last year’s returns following a visitation by an IRS agent.

Most taxpayers felt the stress of the tax seasons mainly due to identity theft issues. The IRS was not able to resolve identity theft cases for close to 500,000 people by the end of 2023, leaving them to wait for an average of 19 months as reported by Erin Collins, National Taxpayer Advocate, in her 2023 Annual Report to Congress. On top of this, thousands of taxpayers were led towards inflated refund claims for 2023 returns, leading the IRS to freeze their refunds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would the IRS need to verify my identity?

Identity verification is a security measure to prevent fraudulent activity. If the IRS suspects some irregularities in your tax filings, they may require in-person verification to prevent identity theft or fraud.

What can lead to a delay in getting a tax refund?

A number of factors can delay your tax refund. These can include errors in your tax return, an abrupt change in your finances, missing documentation, or if you are victim to identity theft or fraud. It’s also possible that the IRS is simply overloaded with returns and hasn’t processed yours yet.

How do I deal with identity theft related to my taxes?

If you suspect identity theft or fraud related to your taxes, you should immediately report it to the IRS. They have procedures in place to manage such situations. Additionally, consider working with your bank and credit bureaus, as well as changing all of your online passwords, to mitigate the damage.

The IRS called hundreds of Detroit taxpayers out for an extraordinary early morning lineup to verify their identities. Many of these citizens, some encompassing ages 17 to 75, were victims of tax crime. The IRS’s Luis Garcia indicated that almost everyone present was there to validate their identity, and approximately 99% did so.

The large turnout might be tied to the advance loan policies of the IRS; many people may fall for scams and claim large refunds that they are not eligible for, as per the IRS representative. Frighteningly, this could have severe penalties. However, the IRS stated that these patterns do not necessarily foreshadow an increase in identity theft.

Many attendees, confused by the unusual ordeal, were unsure why they had received a credit. Charlene Smith noted her bewilderment and frustration, specifying that she had never had to substantiate her identity before.

The situation for Audrey and Lori Young summarizes the challenging experience many citizens faced. Although the young 17-year-old Audrey had her tax withheld from her pizza-cooking job, she had been unable to verify her identity on the IRS’s website.

As IRS appointments were scarce, Audrey and her grandmother had to line up in the Detroit IRS office at 8 a.m. to wait for their turn. After a grueling six-hour wait, the duo finally got into the IRS building. Audrey successfully verified her identity and is expecting her tax refund within nine weeks.

The experience wasn’t without its fair share of struggles, though. The Youngs were fortunate to have made the cut; many people who waited for over seven hours didn’t get the chance to have their identities verified.

At the event, around 25 IRS employees, excluding security personnel, were present. Given her spot in the line and her observation, Lori Young estimates that more than 500 people were seen to, far more than a previous event a year ago.

However, even though many citizens received help, the size of the turnout and the lack of future IRS events indicate many more may yet need assistance.

#### Frequently Asked Questions

**Q: Why did the IRS call Detroit citizens to verify their identities in-person?**

People were called out to validate their identities in-person due to concerns of tax crime. By making this move, the IRS aimed to prevent fraud and ensure people didn’t fall prey to scams involving large refunds they weren’t eligible for.

**Q: Can you summarize the experience of Audrey and Lori Young at the event?**

Audrey, a 17-year-old, and her grandmother Lori attended the event to verify Audrey’s identity after she was unable to do so via the IRS site. Despite a long, six-hour wait, Audrey’s identity was successfully verified, and she is now expecting her tax refund within nine weeks.

**Q: How many people were seen by the IRS at this event, and how does this compare to previous events?**

At this event, an estimated 500 people were seen by the IRS. This is almost double the number of attendees at a similar event in May of the previous year, where only 280 taxpayers were accommodated.
Venisher Cheese and her husband Homer, from Detroit, were surprised by the large, predominantly African American crowd they joined on a Saturday morning. Venturing out for the first time, they were there to verify their identities in order to file their tax return, despite having no previous identity issue. They had changed their tax preparer that year and were unsure why this sudden requirement for verification had emerged.

Both Venisher and Homer hold jobs at the cafeterias in Southfield’s public schools. After working for the Detroit Board of Education for 37 years, Venisher briefly retired for about a year. However, a friend advised her to remain active, leading to her job in Southfield.

![Homer and Venisher Cheese at IRS office](https://investmentshoax.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/73748358007-taxline-4.jpg)

Their story isn’t clear sailing. Homer had previously called the IRS, but was directed to give an in-person identification due to concerns over identity theft. Despite his bad leg and subsequent swelling from long periods of standing, Homer was told he still needed to present himself physically. Sadly, after three hours in line, and still no refund, the couple left with an appointment for the following week and a list of additional documents to bring along.

Despite the hassles, Homer remains optimistic about resolving the situation and finally receiving their federal income tax refund. For any queries, the couple was advised to contact personal finance columnist Susan Tompor.

### Frequently Asked Questions

#### Why did the Detroit couple need to verify their identities to file their tax return?
They had to verify their identities because they had changed their tax preparer, and subsequently, their documentation. It is not clear why an in-person verification was specifically requested from them.

#### What were some of the challenges the couple faced during this process?
One of the challenges was the need for in-person verification despite Homer’s physical discomfort due to a bad leg. They also had to wait in line for a few hours and return for another appointment with extra paperwork.

#### Did the couple finally receive their federal income tax refund?
As of the end of the article, the couple were still awaiting their refund. They were given an appointment for the following week with a list of additional documents to carry along.