Make Less Than $200K? You Probably Weren't Audited

"Without my parents' help, my kids wouldn't be in such a healthy environment," she told ABCNews.com. "I can afford to put decent clothes on their backs and food on the table."

But that explanation didn't help Porcaro's case, which was first reported by The Seattle Times. The IRS, Driver and Porcaro said, argued that Porcaro shouldn't qualify for the earned income tax credit (EITC), a tax credit for the country's working poor.

The credit has been often criticized as being a frequent target for fraud. In a recent Government Accountability Office report, the government described EITC fraud as an "evolving challenge." In the 2009 fiscal year, the IRS collected $3.2 billion through audits related to the earned income tax credit, according to the GAO.

Lawyering Up

By last summer, working with Driver, Porcaro and the IRS reached a resolution: the two sides agreed that she would pay just $1,600 to the IRS instead of $16,000.

Porcaro said she wonders what happens to others like her who don't have the means to "lawyer up."

"If I didn't have my family's support, I would have tossed my hands up," she said. "I wouldn't have been able to prove to them anything on my own."

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