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Mistake creates $2 million of extra income, IRS asking for pile of cash

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Aaron Strickler, 26, was furloughed from his job last year.

Strickler collected unemployment and when he filed his taxes electronically, somewhere between hitting the send button and the IRS getting his return, his income increased by more than $2 million. And Strickler has no idea how it happened. 

“The IRS is saying that I made over $2 million,” Strickler said. 

He showed I-Team 8 his tax returns from last year; he made right around $32,000 — which includes $20,000 in unemployment insurance — a far stretch from the $2 million the IRS says he made.   

“They want $750,000 in taxes,” Strickler said as he handed I-Team 8 his tax documents from last year, which he filed online with the same tax preparer he has used for years.

When he filed in early February, he owed close to $1,000 in income taxes, which he paid. Months later, he noticed a problem: He hadn’t received his third stimulus check.  

“So I went back and looked at my taxes to see if something was holding it up. That is when I found out on the top left of the screen that I owed $735,000 in federal and over $45,000 in state,” Strickler said. 

At some point a few additional zeroes were added to his tax return.

“So there was something where, uh, a glitch happened where rather than it putting in I made $20,000 in unemployment compensation it put it that I made $2 million,” Strickler said.  

He says he would have noticed a mistake like that when he filed. A representative from the online tax preparer said they had never seen anything like it and told him he was on his own, which means making calls to the IRS and praying someone will pick up.  

“I called their line. Some days they take phone calls, some days they don’t take phone calls. I think on two or three occasions I finally got through and got in contact with someone. Well, then they say this is not my department and I need to transfer you to another person. I get transferred to another person. They put me on hold, say they are looking through my account, put my one hold again and then my phone call disconnects,” Strickler said. 

As for the $45,000 he owed the state, Strickler was able to clear that up with one visit to the Indiana Department of Revenue. I-Team 8 called the IRS and they have not returned the call as of yet. 

Strickler is getting collection notices from the IRS demanding he pay $7,300 a month. I-Team 8 will stay on this story until there is a resolution.