It’s tax season — and as any American knows, the process isn't always without complications.
However, for one Illinois mother, the process is especially difficult as the federal government insists the son she is claiming on her tax filing is dead.
The bizarre situation started five years ago after the boy’s father died, Eboney McDaniel, an Elgin resident, told WLS-TV. The two share a last name but not a birthdate or first name, and when she went to go file her taxes that year, she was rejected with a notice that her son’s social security number was rejected.
"As I file him on my taxes, his social security number is rejected. And it's rejected because it's coming up as a death in the system," McDaniel explained to the local outlet. "To see him deceased on paper, it's gut-wrenching. It's a feeling no parent should ever feel."
As for her son Jaxen, he is alive and well, she said.
And, despite numerous attempts to get the Social Security Administration and the IRS to rectify that he is indeed still living, she is given an official document from the government that says her son is dead each year.
In addition to completing the legal filing, she said she needs the refund money to care for her son.
"My son, he has autism, so I need the most support possible," McDaniel told WLS-TV.
The IRS told McDaniel the issue lies with Social Security and Social Security claims the error is with the IRS.
"That leaves me to try to figure out where do I go? Who do I go to?" she pondered.
But, she’s not giving up.
"I am his voice. I am in his person who speaks for him, so, I'm going to keep fighting," the determined mother said.
She also suggested that if the issue is not corrected, it could lead to further complications when her son applies for a job, seeks a mortgage, gets a passport, or files his own taxes.
Separately, Democratic lawmakers have said the COVID-pandemic has put a strain on the IRS and has passed funding under the 117th Congress for the IRS to hire 87,000 more agents. Republicans, now in control of the House of Representatives in the 118th Congress, have called the IRS needlessly complicated and have introduced legislation rescinding that funding.
"Hard-working Americans deserve an accountable government that works for them, not against them," Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado, said in January. "The IRS should never be weaponized against American taxpayers. Rather, it should be focused on providing quality service to taxpayers."
He added: "Rescinding the funding for 87,000 new IRS agents is a great first step in that direction, and I was happy to vote ‘yes’ on this legislation!"
Some Republicans are also eyeing a new tax system overhaul, which could abolish the IRS.