A United States Army veteran is outraged after being fined approximately $1,600 by the Internal Revenue Service for equipment he reportedly lost nearly 10 years ago.
Gerrod Branum of Fairmont, W.V., served in the U.S. Army from 2001 to 2005, joining up after the 9/11 attacks.
“I even lost friends of mine in those Twin Towers so it kind of hit home for me,” Branum told WBOY-TV. “When it comes down to losing good hearted Americans that worked their lives away, in this country we look at terrorists as two things. You are the enemy and you don’t come in our backyard.”
Most of Barnum’s service was spent in Iraq.
“More or less on the factors of going over there, I wish it upon no soldiers to have to deal with stuff we had to deal with in Iraq,” the veteran said.
He said that on his way home from deployment, a bag containing much of his field equipment got lost.
“We went to the company commander and informed him. We went from company commander and went to the [commanding officer]. The CO said ‘OK, file charges’ of basically what we call a field loss. All this paperwork was done and turned in,” he said.
Fast-forward to 2014, nearly a decade after the incident: Barnum was sent a letter from the IRS notifying him that approximately $1,600 was being withheld from his tax return on account of the missing equipment.
He tried contacting the IRS, but his inquiries have been met with silence so far.
“As a government, you took my money in all aspects for a field loss for my service to my country,” he said. “It is not right. It is wrong and it is immoral.”
Official U.S. Army regulations state Barnum should have been charged within three months of the loss of the equipment.
“A whole decade went by,” he said. “Me personally, if that was the case you should have notified me before you put me out of the military.”
Barnum is currently working on resolving the issue in court.
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