IRS Hunts down Scourge of society: the Single Mom

The economy is still suffering, people are struggling, and often people are just barely covering their bills.  But, as one single mother recently learned, you’d better be sure that you are making ends meet.  If not, the IRS is going to catch you.

Via Boing Boing:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is going after a single mother with two kids who makes $10 an hour at Supercuts. When she asked why she was being audited, the IRS told her: “You made eighteen thousand, and our data show a family of three needs at least thirty-six thousand to get by in Seattle.”

The issue in question was that the IRS decided that it was a red flag when the single mother of two wasn’t meeting what they considered to be a threshold amount of income to be supporting her family.  After going over her returns and learning that she was actually living with her parents and paying them rent to stay there, the IRS decided that she in fact wasn’t supporting her children, and enventually asked her to return the money she had received by claiming them as dependents.

[T]he agency insisted Rachel couldn’t prove she was supporting her children — she didn’t have enough receipts — so she had to stop claiming them as dependents. A few weeks ago she paid back $1,438 (plus penalties and interest!) on that issue.

Way to go, IRS. You did an investigation likely costing tens of thousands of dollars (counting both sides) to squeeze a grand out of a single mom who did nothing wrong.


According to the article, in 2006 a person who received an earned income tax credit, a credit given to the working poor, was more than twice as likely to be  audited than the rest of the tax paying public.   And, a large percentage of those who receive an EIC refund are women, especially single parents.

So, to summarize, by trying to save more money to care for her children, a single mother making $10 an hour living with her parents was told by the IRS that she didn’t have enough money to exist on.  And, once they proved that was the case, the IRS then penalized her by…taking away more money.

And people wonder why it is hard to pull out of debt in America.



Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

so very sad

Leia P.
Leia P.8 years ago

our govt is run by a bunch of people who have no money skills

Sharon E.
Sharon E.8 years ago

I am a single mom whose children are grown and on their own. I was never audited until 2 yrs ago. I became legally disabled in 1997 and made a total of approx. $100 in 2003. Now, in 2003, my son was still in college and a dependant. I claimed the EIC for him. Last year I got audited and was told (now this is 5 yrs later) that I took the higher amount of 15% instead of 10%. I made approx. $100 and was made to pay $66 with fines, interests and whatever. I called and said, "Thank you so much for teaching me a valuabale lesson. The IRS will never see another tax filing again from me. I will not report another cent to the govt.
It's too bad we can't get organzied as when I went to Ireland in 1979. The people went on strike all at the same time throughout the entire country. I will never forget it as long as I live. They won. No tax increase!

Jeff J.
Richard N8 years ago

Truly unfair....

Alicia Nuszloch
Alicia N8 years ago

Our government sometimes doesn't make any sense to me. Children should have food in their tummies no matter what. Here they are talking about the children are our future well .... which children ? hmmm their children I suppose because i don't think their are generalizing of curse.

pam w.
pam w8 years ago

Thanks for that perspective, Allison...I'd never thought of it that way!

Alison J.
Alison J.8 years ago

This brings up the question "What constitutes a household?" The IRS assumes here that the mom is living in someone else's household. My contention is that, because she is paying rent, she has her own household regardless of whether she shares kitchen and bathroom facilities.

My son lives in a boarding house with five other unrelated people. They all share the same kitchen and bath but they each have their own address, mailbox and "household". The IRS cannot claim that they support each other. This case should not be any different just because they are related.

I was told that what constituted a household for IRS purposes are "separate facilities", i.e. kitchen and bath. This is unconstitutional. The supreme court of California agrees, and stated that a citizen of this country does not have to supply itself with an abode i.e. if you are homeless you are not a criminal. Therefore a person should not have to supply his or herself with their own separate kitchen in order to qualify as being head of a household.

Rebekah Collins
Rebekah Collins8 years ago

Shameless!~ I heard a statistic today that gave the ratio of what the developed world gets back on the money 'we' lend the impoverished world it is literally 10 :1

So I guess the IRS just follows suit attack lots of poor people who can't defend themselves instead of the smaller number of bloated CEO mafia tax base . . .

Evelyn B.
Past Member 8 years ago

So, if the IRS decided Rachel absolute could not have been able to support her children did that mean that Rachel's parents, the grandparents can now claim the children on their IRS returns, someone has to be supporting them. If that is what the IRS decided, and I would check with a Tax specialist, then the grandparents should file an Amended IRS Tax form and claim the children as dependents, that is what the IRS is claiming. They would probably get money refunded in the amount or more than what Rachel had to pay, one would hope. Another case of the Federal government getting way too involved in to our day to day lives. Unless you live under the same roof you do not know how someone else lives day in and day out.

Wendy Savage
.8 years ago

It is down right shameful what is happening everyday in this country. The government perpetuates the prevailing attitude these days of "IT'S ALL ABOUT ME, ME FIRST!" The government makes sure they get what they think is their share first and if you have anything left for yourself then you are one of the lucky ones. We have become a nation of "sheeple" being led to the slaughter and we don't even see it coming.