OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local woman is fed up after receiving a $300,000 bill for back taxes reportedly due to an IRS error.

Receiving a letter from the IRS is enough to send anyone into a tizzy. But few have had a scare like Vanessa Neal, after opening a memo last June.

“I took a deep breath,” she explained. “It was like heart palpitations. What is going on?”

Her 2019 tax return was under review, and the IRS believed Vanessa owed nearly $300,000 in back taxes.

She called the IRS for answers, waited on hold for two hours, before finding this wasn’t her fault.

“[The agent] went in the system,” Vanessa noted. “He says, ‘It looks like somebody’s fat fingered it’. I’m thinking this is going to be resolved.”

In 2019, Vanessa made roughly $97,000. She tells KFOR, the IRS agent told her it appeared an error occurred when the numbers were typed in.

As a result, her $97,000 income became closer to $970,000.

Vanessa hoped this would be taken care of quickly. She was asked to fax all pertinent documents from 2019, which she did on three separate occasions.

Four months later the IRS followed up. A letter to Vanessa explained they needed more time to process all the information, and that she could expect a response within 90 days.

But more than a year after the initial bill, no resolution. She continued to receive follow-up letters from the IRS that they still needed more time. Vanessa also received updated bills, as the original $300,000 accrued penalties and interest.

Photo goes with story
Vanessa Neal speaking with In Your Corner’s Adam Snider.

A little background on Vanessa Neal is important in this story. She currently works for Tinker Air Force Base as a budget supervisor.

During the year in question, 2019, she was working in a similar position for the US Embassy in Kuwait.

Her husband Larry is a Marine and a Desert Storm veteran.

“I took pride in representing the US in a foreign country,” she said. “I met a lot of wonderful people and I was just proud to serve.”

This family, with a history of service and work for the country, now continues to receive updated invoices from their government.

Her tax bill grew to more than $315,000.

“It’s not going in the right direction,” Vanessa noted.

The IRS, like so many other government agencies, had their day to day operations upended by COVID-19. They continue to urge patience on their website, reporting that a number of services are still delayed.

A spokesperson with the IRS was unable to speak on Vanessa’s case, but advised that she call and set up an in person appointment at the local OKC IRS office.

News 4 attempted to set up a possible meeting multiple times, but never made it through the automated answering service before our call was dropped.

“I don’t know, I’m frustrated,” Vanessa said, when describing her dealings with the IRS.

In her last letter from the government, she was asked to fax her info yet again, for a fourth time.

She tells News 4 she’s at her wit’s end and needs help.

“I am a law-abiding tax paying citizens, my taxes go pay their salaries too,” Vanessa said. “They made a mistake.”

Some good news to end on though! In Your Corner contacted Rep. Stephanie Bice’s office to see if they could help.

It appears they got to work quickly. Not long after, Vanessa received an updated letter from the IRS. Her $300,000 bill had been cancelled.

Turns out, she was actually due a small refund all along.