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dylatess, ATTORNEY
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 3441
Experience:  37 plus years of SSD practice
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I have had a vexing response from Soc Sec Admin regarding

Customer Question

Hello! I have had a vexing response from Soc Sec Admin regarding un-credited credit from 1987 self employment ES taxes which were made in timely fashion before the April 15th 1988 regular filing date. I was juggling running sizable adult contracted rural newspaper routes (two to three per day) while trying to stay in college at least one quarter time in hopes of garnering a better career eventually. I was obliged to file an extension, as I also had the necessity of doing for many years prior as well as after 1987. My goal was to pursue accounts receivable that were in arrears and to avoid excess write-offs and realize better income (on which greater tax would also be due) before eventually throwing in the towel on any outstanding accounts receivable, writing them off as losses and reporting any subsequent past-due payments as current year income. In repeated inquiries with the IRS and talking directly to agents as well as enrolled CPA's I was told that since I had made my payments (I typically drastically overpaid) I would receive payment credit and a refund for any over-payment as long as I finally threw in the towel and submitted a return by three years from the August 15th extension date. (A total of three years and four months allowed altogether from the initial un-extended April 15th filing dates). If I was unable to accomplish that I would only sacrifice my refund and the IRS would file my return itself but of course I always would receive credit for timely paid taxes including the Social Security taxes which of course are twice the tax paid by a non self-employed wage earner since their employer pays half of that tax for them. I went through this long drawn-out misery for many years, always staying current and actually way over-paying my ES obligations and always received all my payment credits including on my annual social security account statement on all prior years subsequent years that I was struggling with this predicament. Only one prior year, 1985, saw my return filed too late to receive my refund which was a significant misfortune for me, but all credit was received and subsequently appears in my annual social security annual statements. I was living in Napa county, mainly in the city of Napa, all those years and ran routes both out to Saint Helena as well as Yountville and the city of Napa itself. I began noticing that a few years had not yet shown as credited in my annual social security statements but simply waited at first to allow time for the credits to make their way into the system. Every year in question eventually did show up and credit was received with the exception of 1987. Even the 1985 credits were relatively quickly accounted for. I eventually went in person to the local Napa county Social Security Administration office on 2nd Street and brought it to their attention. I was instructed to come back with the necessary documentation and submit it to take care of it. I did so promptly. I did not receive a response, which would have been to my mailing address and eventually received my annual social security statement which still showed no credits for 1987. So, I eventually returned to our local office, received the same directions to once again provide the necessary documentation, which I once again submitted in the full belief and confidence that the error would be corrected. Once again the months slid by with nothing in response. So I simply waited, thinking that surely the credit would appear eventually in lieu of any receipt of an article of official mail from the Social Security Administration. Eventually the YEARS slipped by and still no resolution to the absent credit to my account. When I recently found myself in the circumstances of long term under employment and then unemployment and some con-commitant cumulative health, aging, and financial dilemmas I filed for my small pension early and then subsequently filed for Social Security retirement benefits at significantly reduced monthly
JA: These retirement benefits are supposed to help us but they can be so complicated! The Retirement Expert will help you get the most benefits propertly. Is there anything else important you think the Retirement Accountant should know?
Customer: Yes! I am so sorry for the long description of my situation. I really would have liked to make a copy of my thoughtful submission to you and no idea you could already see it! They sent my a mailed response in June 2016 declaring that my submission was unsuccessful due to the period that the earnings was reported from. The letter stated that 'Our policy states that the self-employment tax return would need to have been filed within 3 years, 3 months and 15 days after which your self-employment income was derived in'. To me this is utter nonsense and clearly goes against their own prior policy both before and after the tax lyear in question. Its as if some faceless, nameless beaurecrat on a power-trip and or wishing to make points with superiors anxious to make up any pretext to reduce outlays due to falling revenue that they can come up with. I was really rattled, and sent for an official IRs transcript which I received and delivered to our local office only to receive in November 2016 a denial of allowing the correction and credit on the same grounds. I am as before, completely rattled and frustrated and angry at what represents a form of tyranny and cynicism and just plain injustice by our government whose salaries are paid by us non-government citizens. And this behavior obviously contradicts all the other years in which same misery unfolded before and after 1987 and during which any such behind the scenes punitive policy that literally cheats citizens like me with no information ever disseminated to the public about such obscure policies intended to punish without due process and withhold due credit from honest citizens.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 6 months ago.

Hi, my name is***** have been practicing SS LAW full time for 10+ years and look forward to assisting you.

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 6 months ago.

I am not entirely clear on what your question is. I think you are saying you didn't get credit for your 1987 work earnings, despite you filing the necessary paperwork within the 3/3/15 rule/deadline. If that is the case, what exactly is your question?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Good Evening and thank your for reviewing my issue Stephanie! ~ Please forgive me if the following response is difficult to read or makes excess demands on the reader. I am rattled by what I have been through and it is very difficult for me to condense the matter in perhaps the most succinct and condensed form. Repeated inquiries with the Soc Sec Admin. received not so much as a response, and this past year they finally did respond after I filed to receive retirement benefits and brought the issue to their attention yet again. They now state an official policy of having had to have filed a self-employment return for the year in question to receive work earnings credits by this obscure 3/3/15 time limit. I unwittingly bothered with obtaining an official IRS transcript proving my earnings and filing when I should have gotten in touch with a professional such as yourself to begin with. The policy as stated conveniently declares a cut off to receive the credits 15 days short (technically 14 days short since I filed it 8-14-1991 one day short of sacrificing any refund. I subsequently received a large refund) I have received all work earnings credits even for a year in which I was unable to meet the Internal Revenue Services stipulation requiring filing no later than 3 years from the Aug. 15th extension filing date. I did not receive the refund I otherwise would have received, and the IRS internally 'filed' my return and the work earnings credits, which had actually been paid (significant overpayment which was typical) BEFORE the ordinary tax season April 15th due date. The policy stating the 3/3/15 obviously was not around when I made the payments and eventually finalized the return and seems horribly designed to thwart and punish as well as a cynical and unjust way to save the system money. The single year in which I wound up filing past the final IRS cut-off date and lost my significant refund was obviously past any CURRENTLY declared 3/3/15 rule and I received the work earnings credits and received them for quite a few other returns filed under similar circumstances and for which the obscure 3/3/15 rule would have headed me off at the pass in spite of meeting the IRS own stipulations and rules and receiving refunds and work earnings credit. This whole business puts me in position of facing a loss for my remaining lifetime of whatever dollar amount, relatively small though it may be, but significant for my income status especially over as much as 20 years. This is a legitimate grievance that should have been corrected in my favor long ago when I first submitted my documentation and failed on both of the first two widely spaced attempts to receive so much as a mailed response.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Whew! I just reviewed what I wrote above and had to shake my head. I realize what you most require is the best summation of what my question is! It is this: I believe, based on the above, that I have a case to overturn this denial and am asking for your opinion on appealing through your practice if that would be an advantage. I realize this is likely an unusual case and
ssi/disablility cases are most likely the usual issue brought to you. This 3/3/15 policy shouldn't be retroactive and stands in clear contradiction to how my work earnings credits were routinely received before and after the 1987 return. I feel strongly that this is a legitimate grievance and that this policy truly stinks to high heaven. I worked very hard. Too hard in fact and with far too little sleep and income even before having to write off dead beats and bad debts. I strived diligently to and indeed DID always pay, and in fact routinely wound up way overpaying in spite of needing as many dollars available as I could get. I did so to always be sure to meet my obligations to my country. They had way more money on deposit in my account than I ever owed before the initial April 15th annual filing date, and then got to hang on to the significant overpayment for as long as it would take me to finalize my return. It is patently just plain unjust that this obscure rule can be used to stick it to me. If you knew me Stephanie, and my circumstances at the time (and now) it would just sicken and outrage you to witness this ruling and this stinker of a trumped up rationale for flat out not giving me credit for taxes that went into the system in highly timely fashion. I haven't cheated my government or my country out of anything. If this ruling is allowed to stand THEY WILL BE CHEATING ME and God knows how many others whom have found themselves battling to get work earnings credits under this policy that stands in clear contradiction to the past for both the IRS and the Social Security Administration. It is arbitrary and a cynical excuse to deny benefits due in order to penny pinch and satisfy newly minted and never published rules hidden in the voluminous manual of regulations and designed to invoke still more ways to limit benefits, hurt decent working Americans and enact a further clandestine tax by unelected and faceless, nameless beaurecrats. Please excuse me for raging about this, but I just feel so abjectly powerfully about the sheer corruption of this! Our government is growing increasingly desperate as revenues fall and expenditures continue to rise. So many crooks and cheaters have chiseled unemployment and SSI over the years I believe that has helped create a culture of additional rules and regulations that is victimizing honest citizens. I was in contact in the 1980s with the IRS agents on several occasions to ensure that I knew the score for my situation and always received credit to my account even if I otherwise had to on the ONE occasion forsake a refund due to the eventual filing that took place after the IRS three years (including extensions, therefore 3 years from the initial extension due date of August 15th) I could even have requested, and likely would have received, an additional extension since I had timely paid my ES estimated taxes. I learned that too late to do so for the year that I didn't get my refund (but it did not result in the shocking revocation/denial of receiving due credit for taxes paid in full and timely) Writing this all out is much easier for me than trying to do it speaking over the phone since it gives me time to think, review, and try to make sense and pour out my frustration and experiences. I realize at the next step you may feel that it will expedite things if we speak and you are able to question and get more needed information from me. Please respond in some detail by email as time permits. I understand that a $27 fee will then apply, and then I think if we have live phone contact another $27 fee will apply. God bless you and thank you so very much for anything you can do to ease the sense of powerlessness and helplessness. I know that I could simply say all this to the Social Security Administration directly but I deeply fear that to proceed with no knowledgeable counsel that I would simply be taken advantage of and denied again with possibly no further recourse to simple justice. I am praying that you can help me successfully fight this and get the credit I truly deserve.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The response letter following my having provided the IRS transcript for 1987 states that if I get someone to help me then I should let them know. They state that if I hire someone they must approve the fee before the person helping can collect it. And if I hire a representative who is eligible for direct pay, they will withhold up to 25 percent of any past due benefits to pay toward the fee. They did also say that there are groups that can help find a representative or give free legal services if you qualify. I would likely at least qualify for low income status. They also say that our local office has a list of groups that can help with an appeal. Do you think it is wise for me to go that route? Here is how the letter states their position at the beginning of the letter: 'We have reviewed your tax return for 1987 and find that you did not file your taxes within the appropriate time limitations. A timely filed self employment tax return is needed to correct an earnings history. For this reason, we can not add these earnings to your record.' They have clearly somewhere well past the '80s come up with this arbitrary time limit that does not agree with the IRS policies and how I was treated including receiving all work earnings credit even when I was tripped up one filing and had to give up a significant refund. So even the IRS would not have imagined treating me like I didn't pay my applicable taxes and deny reporting my earnings work credit. Somebody internally has come up with, a new pretext to keep peoples hard earned and timely paid taxes and deny them the credit they have coming, And they are projecting back in time making it retroactive. It contradicts the policies that they had at that time. It is flat out tyranny. This whole situation sickens me and is just horrible. I am experiencing intense distress about being treated like this and it was not something that I could possibly have fairly anticipated. They expect me to buy this injustice and are hoping that I can't mount an effective appeal. All this hit right at the Holidays and really threw me for a loop and delayed my response. I am now scrambling and besides myself with outrage. I am receiving little enough as it is and I am being oppressed by this. OK, I know that I need to stop ranting and venting but some government officials are a bunch of nameless, faceless, unilaterally undemocratic and disgraceful, shameful unelected oppressors dishing out arbitrary and shadowy punishment and power trips to satisfy the increasing desperation of THEIR masters to create more ways to limit the peoples access to the full benefits they are due. What authority gives them the right to dictate this kind of thing, much less even retroactively without public hearings and the people doing it having to face the taxpayers and the lawyers? Informing the people. And NO, that doesn't mean a bunch of politicians get to hide the new acts buried deep in a voluminous regulatory manual that is impossible and deliberately beyond the scope or capabilities of ordinary citizens even if they had a CLUE about such a manual. It is fundamentally a violation of civil rights and forces a grievance on a powerless obscure few who might find themselves innocently in this situation where this now newly unearthed shafting can be put to them. How many people could possibly caught in this obscure snare? What could possibly necessitate such an enactment and what truly just purpose befitting our system and rights could possibly be served by this? They couldn't possibly save significant outlays over small numbers of people. And it is patently unjust if they could! Did they do some analysis and discover that a significant pool of potential victims did indeed exist and was ripe for putting it to them? The whole thing seems like some absurd odd-ball made up added way to arbitrarily deny work earnings credit for taxes long paid even before the initial April due date even when the IRS own policies enacted no such punishment merely for a delayed return. The worst they would do is withhold any overpayment and in any case your credits were always entered. What gives the Social Security Administrations hidden insiders that do not answer to the people the right to contradict that!??? This is absolutely NOT representation BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE. I should not be facing a huge bureaucracy that is so capable of arbitrarily resorting to an obscure heretofore unknown rule that clearly has a murky and questionable origin and purpose that I could not possibly have been fairly expected to know and that at any rate was clearly not part of the regulations of the period in question. Citizens not only have the right to be duly informed in advance and allowed to respond as voters and constituents of our democracy and system of justice but it should also not be effectively retroactive to a far earlier time. The SSA is culpable for unresponsiveness to my inquiries and repeated submission of supporting documents.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 6 months ago.

OK, first, if you think you can find a qualified and diligent attorney do agree to help you for free, by all means. I don't know of any like that, simply because they are typically not on salary and most of their pro bono is for those that are trying to prove they deserve their benefit, not trying to add a year they got jipped out of. That said, it seems you are missing 1 year and only 1 year. Doesn't make it RIGHT, but, if it is just one year, have you yet determined if the fight will even result in a change of benefit amount? Often1 year, if you were otherwise a hard worker for your lifetime, will have no noticeable inpact on AMOUNT. The exception would be if you never worked for 10 years, and you need those last 4 credits. So before you start spending money or signing contracts, and expending your valuable time and energy, give that a look.

I don't know when the 3/3/15 rule came in - but it isn't new. But, it is POSSIBLE that it is not the rule for proving you DID file, and producing proof of filing and paying those taxes, but is only the rule for FILING or AMENDING. And it is not the IRS, and so there are very different reasons for the rules.

I am willing to delve into this for you, at least for starters, but we have to avoid extraneous stuff. I understand you are upset and frustrated and feel there is tyrrany - I totally get that. But since I am not here to overthrow the gov't agency, that is simpy interfering with an accurate understanding of the facts, which I need to be extremely concise with no extra details not pertinent to the exact issue, OK?

I would also ask. If the 87 earnins was not on your annual earnings statement, why did you wait 20 years to dispute that? Or, was it one ONCE, and somehow removed?

So, I am not reading your whole essay above, but you can put it down into 5 concise sentences (or less) that would work. OK?

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 6 months ago.

On that note, if you prefer a phone consult instead, I can do that, but it is more expensive - so that will be your option at your discretion.

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