After finishing the opening checklist for the store early, I opened at 8:50 AM. Almost immediately, an elderly lady came in and told me that she needed to get her taxes done. Talking with her, I discovered that her husband had died in the middle of 2013. She claimed that her daughter had been trying to take what little money she had left and had been stealing her mail. As she talked, she kept a very tight grip on her late husband’s death certificate. I expressed my condolences and promised to help her in any way that I could. It was obvious that the lady was very senile, coupled with being very distraught over her situation as she awaited the probate process to clear.
She brought in a 1099 R pension statement but it was for the year 2010, no W-2s, and no Social Security statements for herself or her late husband. I went online and found the phone numbers for the pension company and for the Social Security Administration and wrote it all down for the lady on a separate piece of paper for her future reference.
I called the pension company and was able to explain the situation to a customer representative. I handed the phone over to the lady and then helped her with the discussion. The customer representative confirmed the pension numbers for me to use (which had not changed from the 2010 statement) and promised to send a duplicate 1099 R.
I then showed the lady what a Social Security statement looked like and she told me that she thought that she remembered seeing the two documents. Rather than call the Social Security office, I let her go home to find the documents. She returned very elated with the two statements and I was able to enter all the data.
She realized small federal and state refunds, but the fees would have taken all of the refunds and forced her to pay some money. With permission of my supervisor, I gave her a free refund which I felt was the right thing to do.
Since her husband was deceased, I had to do a paper return to include a copy of the death certificate and include a Form 1310 “Statement of Person Claiming Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer.” Everything had to be printed to wet-sign. I then put the returns in envelopes with stamps and told the lady that I would get them in the mail. It took a lot of time but it was worth it.
She wanted to know how much she owed Liberty Tax Service. I told her not to worry about it. I was glad to help her. I could see that she was overjoyed and almost in tears. After the experience with her daughter, the sweet lady told me that I had restored her faith in good human beings---and that she would be back next year with Liberty Tax Service!!
Randolph (Randy) M. Brooks
Red Bank Liberty Tax Service, Office 14059
Columbia, South Carolina