Veteran Charged $1,600 For Missing Equipment 10 Years After Deployment
Nearly a decade has passed since Gerrod Branum of Fairmont, W.V. served in Iraq, but it wasn’t until this year that Branum found himself penalized by the IRS for a bag of equipment he lost while serving.
The bag was lost in 2005; now, in 2014, the veteran has been notified that the IRS is hitting him with an approximately $1,600 fine.
This ten year lapse contradicts U.S. army regulations, which state that Branum should have been charged within three months of the loss of the equipment.
Instead, as Branum said, “A whole decade went by.”
“Me personally,” he continued, “If that was the case you should have notified me before you put me out of the military.”
Branum joined the army in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. “I even lost friends of mine in those Twin Towers so it kind of hit home for me,” he said.
He served up until 2005, and spent most of his deployment in Iraq.
On his way home from deployment, however, a bag containing his field equipment was lost.
“We went to the company commander and informed him,” Branum says. He also spoke with the commanding officer, who told Branum to file charges of a “field loss.”
“All this paperwork was done and turned in,” he said.
Thus, when the IRS informed him this year that some $1,600 was being withheld from his tax return, the notification seemed not only late, but altogether wrong.
“As a government, you took my money in all aspects for a field loss for my service to my country,” Branum said.
“It is not right. It is wrong and it is immoral,” he continued.
Branum has tried contacting the IRS, but has yet to receive a response. He is currently working on resolving the issue in court.
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