The IRS kept $20,000 from this man because they thought he was dead

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Getty Images | Alex Wong

No one likes dealing with the Internal Revenue Service. But imagine having to battle the IRS for 30 years to convince officials you are alive. It took Adam Ronning that long to get a “computer glitch” fixed and his living status updated in the agency’s system.

He Was Declared Dead At Four-Years-Old

For some strange reason in 1987, the Social Security Administration declared then-four-year-old Ronning dead. The boy’s mother, Linda Picard-Millette, received a letter from the SSA after she remarried stating she could no longer receive child support. The change didn’t happen because of her remarriage, but the fact that her child died.

“I called up Social Security and said, ‘what do you mean he’s dead?!’” Picard-Millete told KMSP Fox 9 News. “They apologized said they would issue a certificate of resurrection, but they wouldn’t give me a copy, and would take care of things.”

Having the government’s promise that they’d take care of the mistake, neither she nor her son thought about it. Unfortunately, the issue surfaced again in 2009 when Ronning filed his income tax return.

Getty Images | William Thomas Cain

IRS Holds Back Refunds

After filing his 2009 taxes, Ronning only received half of his calculated refund because the IRS reported his status as deceased. Even after trying to fix the situation, Ronning’s problems only got worse in the following years. Instead of holding part of his refund, the IRS began freezing any refunds Ronning earned.

Ronning continued to fight the battle started long ago by his mother.

“I’ve spent hours on the phone with the IRS, on hold, and waiting for someone, trying to speak to supervisors but they always point the finger at social security,” he told Fox 9 News, “Social Security says that I’m fine. I’ve had three new social security cards now… I wouldn’t get a new card if I wasn’t around.”

Even after receiving a letter from the Department of Treasury proving Ronning’s alive, he still could not get his refunds. By that time, the total amount owed to him reached approximately $20,000.

Ronning thought his situation would never get resolved. However, someone unexpected stepped in to help the man get his life back.

Getty Images | Mark Wilson
Getty Images | Mark Wilson

A Senator Steps In To Help

As Ronning’s story hit the news, staffers for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar saw the man’s struggles. They brought it to the attention of their boss, who agreed to step in to help him. She made a couple of calls and finally convinced the appropriate offices that Ronning remains alive and well.

Klobuchar also intends to help Ronning get back all the tax refunds owed to him.

The Minnesota man is a father to two (and has another one on the way) said he’s thankful for the help. He also has plans for his long-overdue tax refund money.

“That money will definitely have somewhere to go, you got to support the family, and there’s going to be more diapers, making sure our cars keep working; just keep on keeping on,” he told Fox 9 News.


About the Author

Marie Rossiter

Marie is a freelance writer and content creator with more than 20 years of experience in journalism. She lives in southwest Ohio with her husband and is almost a full-fledged empty nest mom of two daughters. She loves music, reading, word games, and Walt Disney World. You can find her writing about her personal health journey at marierossiter.substack.com and connect with her at marierossiter@gmail.com More.

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