Tax refund could be delayed by identity theft or tax fraud

HI, SUN SPOTS: Thank you for the article on the income tax refund. Mine came in about 120 days. Keep up the good work. — No Name via mail.

RESPONSE: In case it helps more of our readers, on July 14 Sun Spots published this information in response to a query about when to expect a tax refund after an identity theft incident: CNN’s Money segment has reported on the subject of tax fraud:

“If you’re a tax fraud victim, the IRS freezes your refunds. Investigations are so backed up, the government says the average wait time to clear up the matter is 120 days. But more than a dozen tax fraud victims spoke to CNNMoney and said the IRS is telling them the wait is 180 days. Some have waited far longer than that.”

In its identity theft information for victims, the IRS states: “If you previously contacted the IRS and did not have a resolution, contact the Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. If you are unable to get your issue resolved and are experiencing financial difficulties, contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service toll-free at 877-777-4778.” In Maine, the Taxpayer Advocate phone number is 207-622-8528. Sun Spots would like to know if these numbers are helpful for you.

GOOD MORNING SUN SPOTS: I see you had another request for chair caning information. I am a second-generation seat weaver and have been caning seats for 30 years. I am located in Auburn and people can reach me at 207-520-8083. Thank you! — Susan Ference.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have never donated blood before but I am considering it. Where can one get more information about donating and where does one donate blood in the Lewiston-Auburn area? — No Name, Lewiston.

ANSWER: Sun Spots went to the American Red Cross for this information: To get ready for your donation, it always helps us to know in advance when you are coming in to make a donation. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids on the day of your donation. Wear clothing with sleeves that can easily be rolled up above the elbow. If possible, include iron-rich foods in your diet, especially in the weeks before your donation.

Let them know about any prescription and/or over-the-counter medications that may be in your system. Please bring either your donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification. Bring along a friend, so that you may both enjoy the benefits of giving blood. Donating blood is a simple thing to do, but it can make a big difference in the lives of others. The donation process from the time you arrive until the time you leave takes about an hour.

The donation itself is only about 8 to 10 minutes on average. After donating, you should have a snack and something to drink in the refreshments area. You can leave the site after 10 to 15 minutes and continue with your normal daily activities. In addition to blood donation drives that pop up at hosting businesses, you can contact Central Maine Medical Center Blood Donation Center at 60 High St. in Lewiston. Walk-ins are welcome or call 1-800-733-2767 for availability.

To ensure the safety of blood donation for both donors and recipients, all volunteer blood donors must be evaluated to determine their eligibility to give blood. The final determination will be made on the day of the donation at the blood drive or blood donation center. If you were deferred from donating in the past, you may be able to donate again.

Use the QR code to go to Sun Spots online for additional information and links. This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments.

There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted.

Source: http://www.sunjournal.com/news/sun-spots/2015/08/22/tax-refund-could-be-delayed-identity-theft-or-tax-fraud/1764244

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