EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) -- It's tax season, but more than 100 former Evanston police officers and their families said their tax returns are getting rejected by the IRS – and no one can tell them why.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Wednesday night, call after call has turned up nothing. There have been no return calls, and no insight into what these frustrated pension recipients are supposed to do.
It is especially maddening to the trustee of the pension fund when one considers the irony. When the IRS wants you, they'll find you quickly – but when you need the IRS, he says, good luck getting anyone.
"We're frustrated," said Tim Schoolmaster. "We would like this to end."
Schoolmaster is a retired Evanston police officer and the president of the board of trustees for the Evanston Police Pension Fund. For weeks now, he said he has been inundated with calls from former officers and their families – more than 100 of them – saying they filed their online tax returns using the fund's tax ID number and then getting notices saying "reject."
The returns had been rejected.
"I reached out to our accounting and benefit paying firm, and they said everything appeared to be in order," Schoolmaster said.
Not only is everything in order, but Schoolmaster has the paperwork to prove it. We redacted the fund's tax ID number for privacy reasons, but a December 2019 letter from the IRS confirms the number Schoolmaster's members are using to file is the same on that appears in a confirmation letter.
"Then I started calling around to the IRS – I can't tell you how many hours I was on hold," Schoolmaster said,
He also called the office of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois). He said her inquiries were also met with silence.
"I'm worried with April 15 approaching, will my members be assessed penalties?" Schoolmaster said.
He said some fund beneficiaries are on a fixed income of as little as $1,000 a month.
Kozlov herself also called the IRS, using the direct number for media inquiries. She left two detailed messages and got no response.
Schoolmaster isn't giving up.
"I have investigative experience. I identified some other telephone numbers. I'm sure there are some high-ups in the the IRS that have LinkedIn profiles and email addresses and phone numbers, and I'm just going to keep poking," he said.
We'll keep poking the IRS too, and a spokesperson for Rep. Schakowsky said she will do the same.
IRS penalties for late filing or failure to file can quickly rack up into the hundreds and thousands.
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