update after 3 weeks
Here are some items that were unusual that I've noticed after three weeks of working at the lockbox.
These are all returns with payments, and they are all individuals or small businesses. I would say that about 80 percent of the people whose envelopes I have opened have had Hispanic names. I had expected to see these names from the Southwest, but not as many from other states.
The largest check I opened was for $6 million, the smallest for 6 cents. No, I don't know why! I also have seen two other million-plus checks. All three large checks were from individuals, and I am assuming they won the lottery, because I figured that a person who was already wealthy, or operated a small business, would have had an accountant help with the finances so not so much would be owed the IRS.
One return I opened had a postmark of North Pole, Alaska. No, it wasn't from Santa Claus! I joked that I thought maybe one of his elves was paying taxes!
Sadly, I have seen several returns with additional paperwork stating that the taxpayer's identity had been stolen, and that a return had already been filed in his or her name.
One return from Nevada included not employers' W-2s, but a bunch of winning receipts from casinos. I got the impression that the taxpayer's way of making a living was from gambling, not a regular day job. Also, many people send in at least three W-2s, so it looks like a lot of people have had several jobs, although I don't know if they were spread out over the course of the year or if someone was moonlighting with extra work.
If I notice other unusual details over the course of the next few weeks, I will provide another update.