HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – What happens, when two people claim the same dependent? A Henrico woman is finding out after she filed her taxes and learned her deceased baby is already claimed on somebody else's tax returns.
This is the only year Kiwana McCray can file her deceased child as a dependent. The baby boy died shortly after birth last year. Whoever falsely claimed her son as a dependent will have to pay back the money and may even get prison time.
"That's my angel. He never got the chance come home. He'd been in the hospital since day one," said Kiwana McCray.
Jordan Keshaun Faulcon lived only one month 12 days. Four months after he died of a rare genetic disease last October, his mom learned someone else had claimed him as a dependent on their tax return.
"I cried. I called family, his father. I just couldn't believe it," she said. "I'm his mother. You know this is not your child."
Two people claiming the same child triggered an I.R.S. investigation. Kiwana's electronic return filed through Turbo was denied putting plans to purchase a headstone on hold, dragging her back to a bad time.
"A week before his passing I was denied insurance for him and he passed so, I didn't have the money to bury him," Kiwana explained.
Her family and church helped bury her baby. Now, she and that other person both must present proof they can legally claim Jordan.
Kiwana McCray: "It's hard enough losing him. Having to pull out a death certificate and things like that; it's hard."
Diane Walker: "You can't imagine somebody close to you doing it?"
Kiwana McCray: "No. I don't think so. No. No family members. No friends. No."
The I.R.S. knows who filed and will decide who gets to keep the tax return. Kiwana says the I.R.S. told her they will send a letter after April about bringing in documentation.
Kiwana McCray: "The I.R.S. knows. They did tell me. They know. But they can't tell me who did it. But, I want the person or persons to be prosecuted."
Diane Walker: "They should go to jail?"
Kiwana McCray: "Yes. And have to pay the money back."
Kiwana got her money the same day we met at the cemetery but still has to show proof she's the biological mother. She also worries her deceased child's identity could be used to commit other crimes.
The I.R.S. says it takes identity theft seriously and adds; taxpayers who think they're victims can contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit by calling 1-800-908-4490, or by clicking here.