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My beautiful Mother went to Heaven on June 21 this year. Mam had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's two years and Eight months previous, and I was so glad to care for mam throughout her short illness. We had a great time together, reciting poetry and singing songs together every day. We lived together all my life of 56 years, and I can honestly say mam was my oldest and dearest friend. Mother was such a sweet heart and so easy to love. Alas mother passed away peacefully but suddenly while on her fifth day of her first restbite care stay. After mother's funeral when I called to our bank to withdraw a cheque for to pay the undertaker from our joined account the bank clerk said oh im sorry but the account is frozen as revenue are investigating if your late mum owed any taxes to the state. Since mother lived 87 years why could revenue not have looked into mother's affairs when she was alive ? Or could revenue adapt the moral approach ah sher shes finished with it, so we will confiscate the money. This is the coldest most heartless thing I have ever seen done in my life. I'm just wondering is this the normal thing when a loved one passes away ? Or is it legal ? I'm pretty annoyed over this to be honest.

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Ah Ireland. That is where I am from also, but am in the US now. So are you saying that the Office of the Revenue Commissioners has frozen the account? They absolutely can freeze accounts, just like the IRS can here in the US. They will do so if they believe that there is revenue in the account that taxes have not been paid on. It is called a revenue attachment. You can read about one case in the Irish Times : Couple fail in challenge to Revenue freezing order
Mon, Jul 6, 2009

If this has happened to you, you would have received a Notice of Attachment from them beforehand.

Angel
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Hi All. I'm back and ask what You will. Some one asked Me where I am from ? I'm from the land of Leiprechans and Rainbows. The Greenest Country in the World, and breath taking scenery.
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Angel, of course the IRS makes mistakes. To err is human; to really screw things up takes a bureaucracy. But there is plenty of evidence that, as others have pointed out, that this is not in the US and therefore does not involve the IRS.

Could we call a truce among ourselves, and focus on helping the OP -- those of us who know something about banking where they write cheques?
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Yes, I completely agree that the IRS can make some pretty stupid mistakes as was the situation with two of our three audits. We were lucky in that we have our taxes prepared by an excellent accountant who goes to bat for you in the case of an audit. The thing that gets me is if a person is wrong they get hit with often big penelties and interest - but if the IRS is wrong - nothing - not even an "oops, our mistake - thanks for taking the time to help us clear things up".
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"Rampant mistakes" - My father was the victim of one of those. Typically the mistakes have been more minor but do require several hours of my time to dig up the information and present it to the IRS at a level they can understand.

But the worse was when some idiot wrote my father and told him he couldn't get a refund for a dead person (himself) and advised him to use the specific form for collecting a refund for a dead person. There were absolutely no grounds to assume he had died - he signed the return a few months ago; I filed no form, notices or indications he had died.

Yet some moron decided he had died, then wrote to him advisingi him he couldn't collect on behalf of his dead self.

This is more than a mistake; it's sheer stupidity.

In the past the IRS was fairly easy to deal with and I was always able to get assistance on questions I had, or resolve specific issues. But that's changed in the last several years. The notices we get are ones which are a waste of time if someone was properly trained and really understood the issues instead of just firing off a letter.
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Vegas I have no idea why you want to attack me when I have given good advice. The original posted stated that she knew who froze the account as a tax situation from the government. The obvious answer is to go to this agency and ask someone who knows what's going on why it happened.

You seem to be protecting an agency that has been known for rampant mistakes...the IRS has made lots of mistakes that lead to huge problems for the citizen...including setting a citizen to deceased when they are not!!!! If it were me I'd be heading to the source of the freeze to find out why.

Now, that doesn't mean that I don't doubt the original posters story. If the account is truly frozen for unpaid taxes or fraud...then likely either they didn't file taxes for years, or they have a tax debt...both conditions would have meant a significant amount of warnings through the mail which may have been ignored by the original poster. But, if it is truly a mistake, and there is no evasion of tax payment, then definitely the original poster should go to the source.

Angel
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I raise the same questions as Babalou. The OP refers to a "cheque" which is I believe a UK or British specific, or perhaps a Canadian or Australian term. He refers to his mother a "Mam" - I'm not sure of any specific counrty which uses that description. But "and "Mum" isn't common American usage - again, it's British. Yet he also refers to "revenue" as if it's a department, and uses the term "state".

So the first question is whether you're in the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, or where? Answers are going to vary, and if you're not in the US, then advice on dealing with the IRS or a US state government is not going to be helpful.

Generally though, it seems as if some department/organization/agency has for whatever reason decided to investigate whether your mother owes taxes; however, there should have been a notice before seizing the bank account, and my guess is that unless she was very wealthy, she probably didn't have any tax liability.

If you have an accountant, check with him/or as to whether or not past returns have been filed and whether there was any liability.

It does really seem unusual for revenue chasers to come after a deceased person unless there was substantial wealth involved, or someone tipped them off to check this out.
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I was checking British banking sites; most of them have a section devoted to "bereavement" outlining what the bank does with different sorts of accounts upon the death of one of the owners of the account. You might check your bank's website.
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- and even at 87 one must still file a yearly tax return if there is income above the minimum level allowed, not requiring a filing. I also believe at upon death a final and additional tax return must be filed - was that done? The account that had both your names, was it one that had survivorship rules? Not every account has that automatically happen. Finally, are your own tax filings in order? I also agree with the post that says if the IRS was involved you would have been notified by letter that there was a problem. Hubby and I have been audited three times and my son once and in every occassion we were notified by letter and given time to provide documentation to answer the disputed issue prior to the IRS taking any action such as freezing accounts.
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Johnjoe, come back and talk to us. We have folks from outside the US who can chime in.

Did you ask to speak to an officer of the bank?
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Angelkw, good grief, the IRS does not run around chasing down deceased people's bank accounts as soon as they die. Are you talking about the IRS collecting local property taxes? No, not happening. The IRS also sends a written notice ahead of collection action to try and resolve issues without taking enforcement action. And if the bank account is levied the taxpayer gets a letter about that too. Nope, VERY UNLIKELY, that this is the work of the IRS. And by the way, don't go charging into government offices demanding to see supervisors when you don't even know what you're talking about. That's a waste of time and a good way to get escorted out by armed security. I am a retired IRS Revenue Officer. There is another explanation to this poster's issues.
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I have a feeling we're talking about Inland Revenue in Britain or Ireland? It's a different banking system.
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Thank you for the clarification.

If the account is in both of your names, and both are joint owners (both your mothers and your social security numbers associated with the account) then you should have access to the account.

The only reason I can see that the account would be frozen is that the IRS sees evidence of either failure to pay past taxes or fraud. Had you and your mother filed your taxes every year and/or do you owe for past taxes? As a priority collector, the IRS can freeze all assets until they believe that their claims are settled. Are you aware of any open debts to the IRS?...they are the ones that got Capone after all, they won't play around with past debt. If I were in your place I would go, personally, to the nearest IRS office and demand to see a supervisor or someone in charge to see exactly what the claim is that the IRS has. You may be surprised by what information they have...perhaps an old inheritance that taxes were never paid on, property taxes, income tax...who knows? It's best to go right to them to find out exactly what the status is.

Angel
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Johnjoe, are you in the US? I think not. Tell us where you live.
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And I'm so sorry about your mother's death. It is especially hard to handle these practical matters while you are in the immediate pain of bereavement. My condolences.
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This was a joint account, and you are not being allowed to withdraw on it? That does seem odd. Have you asked to speak to someone higher up in the bank than the clerk, to get a more thorough explanation? I doubt that anyone here can tell you why the account is frozen.
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As stated We had a joined account as in both Mothers money and mine were in one account with both of our names. This had been decided long ago as if Mother needed to go into care Our combined account was there for that reason. Of course Mam was very healthy then but I guess We were being cautious and careful. Mother became a Widow at 57 years therefore Mam retired early and handed the Family farm to the oldest Son. All of Mam's affairs were in order.
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I don't think there is any theft going on here. The bank is just following its procedures. The money will be available eventually.

When my husband went on hospice I transferred the small amount out of his checking account. After his death I went into the bank and tried to close the account. I had his death certificate, but I had no authority over the account, so it is still open three years later, with a 0 balance. It would be to the banks advantage to close it, but they have to follow procedures.
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How exactly did you access the account after she passed? Is your name on the account? I'm assuming that it is not, which means you could not access this account anyway. Even if you are POA, POA ends on death so it is no longer valid.

If you are the executrix of the estate as named in the will, the estate still needs to go through probate (unless all assets were in a trust with you as the trustee). Probate is the time period where all creditors (including the IRS, but also credit cards and medical bills) can be attached to what is left in the estate. So, what I think you are referring to, is that her account is in probate (which would freeze it) which is the normal way of things. Am I correct? If so, yes this is very legal and very expected. Did you speak to an elder lawyer about her estate prior to her death, before she was ill? They would/should have explained this to you.

If I am making incorrect assumptions please let me know as I would like to help you.

Angel
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