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Ohio Man's IRS Drama The Plight Of The Living Dead

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

First, the good news - Siegfried Meinstein is not dead.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And the 94-year-old Ohio man likes it that way. The bad news is that the Internal Revenue Service thinks otherwise. Meinstein spoke with ABC 6 in Columbus, Ohio and he explained he realized something was wrong when his tax return was rejected last year.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SIEGFRIED MEINSTEIN: Because I was supposed to be dead.

SIEGEL: Because he was supposed to be dead. Siegfried Meinstein's son, Ron, told us how all this came to light.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RON MEINSTEIN: Well, Dad tried to file electronically last year and it was immediately kicked out because it said that Social Security had him listed as being deceased.

BLOCK: So officially, Siegfried Meinstein is dead, deceased, no more, with the angels. We called the Social Security Administration and William B.J. Jarrett emailed this statement. And Robert, why don't you read it for us?

SIEGEL: OK, it says (reading) while I cannot discuss individual cases due to the Privacy Act, I can tell you this is an Internal Revenue Service - IRS issue. Please contact the IRS to determine how they will resolve it.

BLOCK: Oh, we did, and an IRS spokesperson hinted we might check with, you guessed it, the Social Security people.

SIEGEL: What's more confusing to the Meinstein family is that even though the IRS won't permit Siegfried Meinstein to file a tax return because he's listed as deceased, the same IRS has some good news.

MEINSTEIN: I got a letter here that says that we have a credit of $14,000, but they can't find our tax returns.

BLOCK: Can't find them because Siegfried Meinstein hasn't been able to file them. So the Meinsteins aren't going to let this rest.

SIEGEL: And of course mistakes happen. We learned that a neighbor at Mr. Meinstein's assisted living facility also had this problem - took about a year to straighten out. So if you're listening, anyone at the Social Security Administration or the IRS - Siegfried Meinstein is alive.

MEINSTEIN: Living here in the United States for 80 years and, you know, nothing like this has ever happened to me.

SIEGEL: The office of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown said that the senator is going to try to intervene on Mr. Meinstein's behalf and to try to end this plight of the living-dead. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.