Refund Delays – IRS Letter 5447C
Many taxpayers filing from overseas receive a letter from the IRS instead of an expected tax refund. Why? They see your name and social security numbers, but NOT the foreign based income that you are reporting. You are simply reporting world wide income in compliance with the demands of the tax code. You are also confusing the IRS. They normally expect earned income to be reported to them by the employer on form W-2. Because your employer is not located in the United States, they don’t report wages on form W-2. The equivalent in Israel is form 106, but oddly enough this data is reported to the Israel Tax Authority rather than the IRS.
The typical response letter from the IRS is coded 5447C. You must respond to this letter. If you don’t, then the IRS will not process your tax return and you certainly will not receive a refund.
The letter itself provides the instructions. Call the number listed +1-267-941-1083. They open 6 AM NY time, which is 1 PM Israel time. For shorter wait times, either call right when they open or in the evening hours.
Have the following documents / data points in front of you when you call:
1. Letter 5447C
2. Your current year’s tax filing
3. Last year’s tax filing
4. Date of birth (you probably know this anyway)
5. Your mother’s maiden name
6. Your maternal grandmother’s first phone number (just kidding)
Assuming that you pass the test, the IRS representative will stamp your case as PASSED. Your return will probably be processed and your refund will be issued. Sometimes don’t do what they say they will do. Best thing is to wait 30 days and then call IRS accounts at +1-267-941-1000 and ask them for verification. If they posted your check, great. Otherwise, ask the IRS representative what the devil happened (nicely) with just a tinge of righteous indignation. You will probably need to submit documents.
If you flunk the oral examination then you will move on to the written examination. This means that you re-submit your form 1040 in writing and include original signatures. Also include proof of income (form 106 with English translation) and proof of identification (US passports and SSN cards). Allow them 6 months to process this, but it could be even slower (sorry!)
If you follow all instructions and contact the IRS at least three times and they still don’t do what they promised they would do, then you can and should contact the taxpayer’s advocate office for assistance.
Hope that helps!