The solution is actually very easy. Last time, I just phoned up the IRS and they brought up my file and I informed them what the correct SSN was. They made the change, and the refund was processed. I'm expecting it to be similarly easy this time.
So, this brings up another subject. If the IRS is so very vigilant and careful in establishing that SSNs are correct, how are so many illegal aliens able to find jobs when they are supposed to be using valid Social Security Numbers as a prerequisite to gaining employment in this country? Twice in the last five years a federal agency, the IRS, has caught a one digit error in the Social Security Numbers used on our 1040 forms. Can't the INS (or is it called ICE now?) or the Department of Labor be as effective as the IRS in screening out phony or invalid Social Security Numbers? The answer is that the government clearly does not really care about the issue of jobs going to illegal immigrants.
I haven't even discussed the ridiculousness of having to obtain Social Security Cards for newborn babies. Remember -- the first two letters of the Social Security taxes taken out of your paycheck are "OA," as in the Old-Age and Survivors Disability Insurance program. Yet we require these ID cards for minors and pretend we do not have a national ID card in this country.
6/02/09 UPDATE: The phone call to the IRS took about 20 minutes of time, most of that on hold, but yes I had mistaken a 0 for a 6 on a Social Security Number and that caused the IRS to reject the Child Tax Credit and Dependent exemption. I simply gave the correct number and the refund will arrive in about 20 days. It's nice that they allow these mistakes to be corrected so easily.