Alvina Pryor has really had it with the Internal Revenue Service.
"I want to put the government on a slab and slice them into little pieces," the 93-year-old told the Chicago Tribune, describing how she felt after waiting six months for her tax refund from the IRS.
Pryor, who lives in Hickory Hills, Ill., filed her federal tax return on time in March, but it took them until Monday to process the $4,006 she deserved to get back, the Tribune reported. Pryor struggled through three rounds of frustrating phone calls with IRS customer representatives, who said they thought her identity may have been stolen.
"I was thinking, just send me the damn money and I don't care about identity theft," Pryor told the Tribune.
It wasn’t until Pryor wrote a letter on Oct. 8 to Jon Yates’s “Problem Solver” team at the Tribune and Yates’s team contacted the IRS themselves that Pryor’s case received the attention it deserved and her refund was finally released.
Unfortunately, Pryor's struggle isn't unusual. The IRS has seen a massive jump in tax scams, in which fraudsters steal a victim's identity and file a fake tax return in order to claim the victim's tax refund. An attempt to crack down on tax fraud has delayed legitimate refunds for Pryor and many other Americans who rely on the money.
While the government agency successfully blocked 262,000 fake returns in 2011, it failed to prevent 1.5 million potentially fraudulent tax returns from being processed, resulting in a loss of more than $5.2 billion, CNNMoney reported.
In one of the agency's more embarrassing slip ups in 2010, the IRS issued over $1 million in refunds to a single home in Belle Glade, Fla. where a staggering 741 tax returns had been filed from.
There are things you can do to help prevent identity theft. The IRS states on its website that you should never dole out personal information via email to anyone claiming to be associated with the IRS. Taking extra precautions with your social security number is also crucial -- if stolen, a thief can use that number to get a job and report income. For more tips to keeping your identity secure, click here.
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Dwayne "Lil Wayne" Carter
Lil Wayne had an IRS lien filed with Miami Dade County in late March 2011. The lien <a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1661259/lil-wayne-tax-lien-irs.jhtml" target="_hplink">noted</a> that Lil Wayne had unpaid income taxes amounting to $3,351,078 for 2008 and $2,258,956 for 2009.
Dent was hit with a $1,160,056 federal tax lien in March 2011. The former Chicago Bears player was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame one month prior.
In January 2012, Lindsay Lohan reportedly received notice from the IRS that she owed over $93,000 in unpaid taxes from 2009. According to TMZ, the actress was simply unaware of the issue.
David "Sinbad" Adkins
<a href="http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2010/02/14/feeling-heat-from-irs-sinbad-will-sell-la-home/" target="_hplink">According to AOL Real Estate</a>, Sinbad was said to owe $8.5 million to the IRS in 2010 and another $2.1 million to the state of California that year. Sinbad was named as <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/12/sinbad-taxes-embarrassmen_n_185976.html" target="_hplink">one of the state's biggest tax evaders</a> in 2009.
In 2008, former Met and Yankee Darryl Strawberry <a href="http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2008/02/darryl_strawberry_agrees_to_pa.html" target="_hplink">agreed to pay</a> more than $430,000 in back taxes he owed, plus interest and penaltie, for money he neglected to pay in 1989 and 1990.
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne
According to the IRS, Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon owed $1.7 million in taxes from 2008 and 2009.
Actor Forest Whitaker <a href="http://www.bvonmoney.com/2011/03/23/forest-whitaker-having-significant-tax-problems/" target="_hplink">was hit</a> with a large tax bill last year, after failing to pay $185,000 he owed to the IRS. The tax collectors in the Los Angeles County Recorder of Deeds cited Whitaker and filed a lien for the balance.
Actor Chris Tucker had a <a href="http://newsone.com/1883935/wow-chris-tucker-now-owes-over-12-million-in-taxes/" target="_hplink">tax lien filed against him in the state of Georgia earlier this year</a> for $592,594.08, plus $11,571,909.26 from the federal government for taxed owed in 2001, 2002 and 2004 through 2006.
"Baywatch" actress Pamela Anderson owed nearly half a million dollars to the IRS in 2010.
In 1974, comedian Richard Pryor was sentenced to 10 days in jail, fined and put on probation after pleading guilty to a charge of willful failure to file an income tax return, according to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/11/arts/11pryor.html?pagewanted=3&_r=1&ei=5090&en=ea88c61b92de25e6&ex=1291957200" target="_hplink">the <em>New York Times</em></a>.
Singer El DeBarge <a href="http://www.vibe.com/posts/nas-irs-debt-totals-more-3-million" target="_hplink">owed $354,000 in delinquent federal taxes</a> in 2010, according to Vibe.com.
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Davis <a href="http://www.esquire.com/the-side/feature/destroyed-by-the-irs#ixzz1rYjZPHxQ" target="_hplink">owed nearly $7.5 million in back taxes</a> at the time of his death.
"Pan Am" actress Christina Ricci was hit with a federal income tax lien of nearly $180,000 on her 2008 earnings.
In December 2010, actor Wesley Snipes <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20025363-504083.html" target="_hplink">began a three-year prison sentence</a> for failing to file income tax returns in the amount of $7 million.