WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A Wichita man says the federal government owes him not one but two income tax refunds. But Franklin Jackson isn’t getting his money because the IRS allegedly told him its records list him as “deceased.”
The 52-year-old veteran served in Desert Storm and the Iraq War. He works at Kaman Composites and can back up who he is and his status with several documents and identification cards.
“Well, I am alive,” Jackson said. “I have no access to my stimulus, and I have no access to two years’ worth of returns I’m due.”
Jackson showed KSN his tax records which indicate the government owes him $3,504 in refunds for tax years 2018 and 2019. The IRS also owes him another $600 stimulus check.
He says when he found out the IRS has him listed as dead, he asked how that happened. Jackson says the IRS told him somebody hit the wrong key.
“I’m still listed in their system as deceased,” he said.
He has been trying to get the mistake fixed.
Jackson says he has called the IRS several times over a two year period, spending hours on the phone trying to explain to the government he’s not dead.
“It’s hard to speak to a real, live human being,” he said. “So if you don’t answer correctly, it’s a loop, and it loops you right back to the same point, and there’s still no person at the end.”
Jackson says that when he eventually does talk to someone on the other end, it’s the same problem.
“I am deceased in their records.”
“And it’s all because someone made a mistake by hitting a button?” we asked.
“That’s what they say,” Jackson said. “Here I am. I’m not dead.”
Jackson’s records show the State of Kansas sent him his state income tax refund checks. He also says the IRS sent him his first stimulus check.
“So I’m looking for somebody to give me a straight answer, not ‘it’s not my department, and I can’t change anything,'” he said.
That’s why he contacted KSN to try to change his luck. So we called the IRS. A representative told us he couldn’t comment on the case citing privacy concerns. However, the man did recommend we reach out to the Social Security Administration.
The IRS spokesperson said the SSA handles the master list of who died in the United States, which the government then uses to compare to tax returns.
A spokesperson at the SSA gave us a similar response about privacy concerns.
However, KSN obtained an email from the SSA to Jackson that says, “Our records have never shown you as deceased. If the IRS needs proof of this, we can provide you a letter indicating our records show you are alive.”
KSN also reached out to Jackson’s lawmakers, including Senator Roger Marshall, Senator Jerry Moran, and Congressman Ron Estes. We confirmed they started a congressional inquiry into why the IRS has Jackson listed as deceased.
“Basically, you have to call our office and we take down some history, get permission of course, and then we inquire whichever agency at the federal level that we need to,” Marshall said.
The senator said it is something all Kansans can do for help with income tax refunds, utility bills, veteran benefits, and stimulus checks.
As for Jackson’s problem, Marshall says they are working on it.
“We still have a few more hoops to jump through but at least they all acknowledge that he’s alive and well now,” Marshall said.
Now, Jackson waits for the IRS to make good.
“They sure have no problem taking taxes out of my checks,” said Jackson. “Why can’t I get the overpayments like everyone else?”