Updated: 04/16/2014 5:42 PM
Created: 04/16/2014 10:40 AM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean
It is only getting worse for families in our area who got a letter from the New York State Tax Department, denying them hundreds of dollars. The letter went to some parents who filed their taxes this year. The letter says they’re not getting hundreds of dollars in their tax refund because the social security number of one of their children is invalid.
Parents who got the letter thought two things, either they made a mistake filing their taxes or someone stole their child's social security number. Neither is true. It was the state not telling the parents what it was up to.
Maura White said, “When I opened up the letter, I thought, ‘Oh great, one more annoying thing about taxes.’”
Maura White and her husband got the letter in the mail after they filed their taxes. The letter said they were denied hundreds of dollars in a tax credit for their child because their social security number is invalid.
White said, “I was a little nervous that maybe her social security number wasn't filed correctly somewhere, but I honestly didn't know what was going on with it.”
The Whites applied for the Empire State Child Credit for their four–year-old daughter, Hannah. To qualify, a child must be at least four years old. The state says as part of its anti-fraud measures it requires parents to independently verify their four-year-old’s social security number because the child is new to the credit. But the state didn’t tell parents this and there’s no warning in the tax credit instructions. The only thing the state did was send a letter to parents telling them their child's social security number is invalid.
Depending on income, the child credit is worth hundreds of dollars. For the Whites, it was $330.
White said, “I'm a stay at home mom and we're living on one income and that's a chunk of change that we were planning on and it's kind of a bummer that we were told we're getting it and now we're not.”
The New York State Department of Tax and Finance released a statement saying, "We never like to inconvenience taxpayers or delay their refunds, but it's critical that we ensure that New Yorkers are not footing the bill for fraudulent or erroneous refunds. To ensure that credit payments - in addition to refunds - are paid only to taxpayers who qualify, we review every income tax return we receive. Each year this saves New Yorkers from paying the cost of more than $400 million in erroneous and fraudulent refunds."-Geoff Gloak, Spokesman, NYS Department of Tax and Finance.
News10NBC asked the state tax department where was the warning to parents applying for the tax credit that they would have to independently verify their child's social security number. They can’t answer that.
Eventually, the Whites and other parents like them will get the tax credit their entitled to. The state is making them fax a copy of their child’s social security card and birth certificate. Then they have to re-process the application. The state is telling the parents that will take about 90 days.