Imagine the IRS asking you to pay a $30,000 debt you don't owe. That's exactly what happened to a Lakewood woman. And the bill belonged to her former church.
Jacqueline Rice was a treasurer for the Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tacoma for six months in 2010. Now three years later she's in a bit of a holy mess. Rice has been getting threatening letters from the IRS telling her she's responsible for the church's huge tax bill.
"I'm hot. I was like, this isn't my bill," said Rice. "It's like 30-some thousand dollars they want me to pay."
Rice doesn't have a prayer of paying the bill. So, she summoned the closest thing to God when it comes to money - the IRS.
"They told me to get a letter from the church stating how long I was on the committee and what my duties were. I did that, I sent it back. Thirty days later I got a letter with intent to seize my property or take my business," said Rice.
Spencer Barrett, Pastor at Allen AME, says this problem began when the church failed to immediately remove Jacqueline's name from the books after she resigned.
"They didn't contact us to let us know they were contacting her. They did that outside of us," said Pastor Barrett.
The pastor sent a letter to the IRS saying Jacqueline was not responsible for the church's payroll tax debt, but the demands kept coming.
"I was like, I'm not paying it. I'm not paying it. So then I called you," said Rice.
I called the IRS and was directed to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, a group within the IRS that independently investigates troubled cases for free. I hooked Rice up with the group and about a month later the IRS removed the financial cross this former church member almost had to bear. Now the church is handling the bill, making payments until the debt is cleared.