Now, you might ask why we didn't just use direct deposit to our US bank. Well, it's pretty simple really. Confusing, but simple. We filed an amended return as we got a late Form 1090 from one of our financial institutions. We thought it was important to do that, instead of just waiting till next tax season, since, until that form showed up, our tax return for the year 2012, was in stasis - no tax owed, no refund due. Once that form showed up, we were due, for us, a sizable refund, making it attractive enough to file an amended return.
What we didn't know, was this quirk in the Internal Revenue Code. It's OK to use direct deposit for the refund from your initial tax filing, but if you do an amended return and are due a refund, the IRS MUST send the refund for an amended return by check and snail mail. And, what else we didn't know, you'll see below.
|Our Refund Check and Deposit Slip|
|Our Endorsement on the Back|
"With the endorsement already made out to this bank? Fat chance. You won't take it at all?" I said, testily.
"No sir. Like I already explained we haven't taken this type of check in quite some time."
I was completely taken aback and just had to ask one more time. "You mean to tell me, that a new check from the US Government, for US dollars, properly endorsed by us, and we're customers of this bank, and you won't accept it?"
"That's right, sir."
At that point, I was a tad angry. I asked to speak to the manager. I was shuffled off to speak to some other functionary. I'm not sure whether or not I actually got to speak to the manager. Anyway, I got no further with that person - two persons actually, as they were now apparently tag-teaming me.
"Ok. I want to close my account immediately." As if this alone would force complete surrender on their part, and they would immediately accept the check.
"Alright, sir. We'll have the teller you were just dealing with take care of that for you." Check and mate, so to speak.
When I got to talk to the teller again, I again said that I wanted to close my account and that I wanted the funds in a cashier's check.
The teller was very polite through all of my dealings with her and advised me several times that closing my account was a drastic step and that the "account was good to have to do other things."
"For something like, oh, cashing a check?" I said, with just a slight touch of sarcasm in my voice.
I almost got her to laugh with that, as she went ahead and gathered the necessary forms to close my account. That took just long enough for me to calm down a bit. I decided to go ahead and keep the account for now and told the cashier, who seemed visibly relieved that she wouldn't have to deal with more forms.
I then gathered up the check and my other paperwork and left the bank.
After getting home, I told Dianna what had happened. She was as dumbfounded as I was. We both wondered just what we were to do at this stage.
Dianna needed to do some work with Cody, our caretaker, so I got on the computer and accessed the IRS website for their phone number, which I called. I explained what had happened, and the lady on the other end, very nicely explained the IRS' prohibition against direct depositing of amended return refunds (although she didn't explain the logic of that requirement).
I asked what I should do now as the check was unusable in it's current state. She suggested I contact the Taxpayer Advocacy Office and gave me their number, which I called.
According to those folks, if it was a life or death situation, they might be able to help, but short of that, there really wasn't much they could do. Well that was helpful.
As I was talking to them, I was, at the same time, surfing through the IRS site, and happened to see a form, Form 3911, the Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, that might fit our situation. They have a form for everything, don't they?
|IRS Form 3911|
This shouldn't take any more than five or six months, tops. Amost worth it to just wait for next tax filing season and take care of it then, eh?
We decided to go ahead and see if Form 3911 can work its magic. We're just so glad that we weren't counting on that money to put food on the table right now. I think we'd be up the creek, without any rice and beans, y'know?
I guess what this little story does, is to serve as a warning to everyone contemplating moving here or any location outside the US really, that, just because a check is issued by good ol' Uncle Sam, that it's going to be accepted with open arms.
So, if you think you might just have your Social Security check, your income tax refund check, or some other benefit check mailed down here, you might want to reconsider that strategy.
We have our Social Security direct deposited to our US bank. That's easy.
There is a way to have your Social Security direct deposited down here to a bank. It's a little involved, but our good friends Bruce and Colleen did it, so it can happen.
Just be aware that having a genuwine US gummint check in your grubby little mits, may not be quite the thing you think it might be.
I mean, Belize, of all places, is widely known, accurately or not, as a major money laundromat for all sorts of nefarious activities. If they won't accept a US Government Check, what does that say about the financial strength and viability of the US and the US dollar itself?
Kinda makes you wonder, don't it?