TaxMama s Tax Quips Forged by Ex

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr Weekend

Today TaxMama hears from Tami in Tennessee who’s been violated. “What can you do when your ex-spouse forged your signature on a tax return? I have a copy of the form 8879 where my signature is obviously signed by my ex husband. The refund of over $4000 was deposited in his checking account. What do I do?”

Dear Tami,

I hate it when that happens! And it’s more common than you would suspect. Why do people think they can just get away this kind of nasty behavior? Do they really think you’ll sit back and do nothing?

How far do you want to go with this? Here are some options open to you. Be careful. Some of these actions will have irreversible consequences.

First of all, make sure that you file your tax return for that year, with the correct filing status. If not, file the tax return on paper, with a cover letter explaining about the forgery. Include a copy of the forged Form 8879. Be sure to show your signature – on a Post It® next to his version of your signature.

1) Alert IRS. Let them know a fraudulent return has been filed. See more information here: http://taxquips.com/index.php?id=409

IRS has information about reporting fraud. http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=106778,00.html

2) Take him to Small Claims Court. Prove how much of the refund should have been yours. File your claim. Do research to see if your state allows for punitive damages. If they do, add them to your claim. Don’t just add some bucks and expect the Court to award it to you. You have to be able to cite the code section of the law that permits punitive damages.

3) If you are still in divorce court, have your attorney present the information to the judge and request compensation and damages. Remember, you or your attorney have to know the code section for damages.

4) The most drastic option? Report the forgery and theft to the police department and perhaps your district attorney or the State Attorney General. Depending on your share of the refund, that might even qualify as grand theft. (I don’t know the rules of your state.)

The authorities will not follow through if you are not certain that you’re willing to testify. This may put him in jail. Is that what you want? If so, go for it.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about forgeries and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com.

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