SMYRNA, Tenn. — A Middle Tennessee woman said she's been dealing with a tax nightmare as she's been waiting for over a year to get her tax issues resolved.
Because of that delay, she can’t get her return or her stimulus payments.
“Where’s my money? Just give me my little money,” Jerri Evans said.
When the government announced the first stimulus payments shortly after the pandemic last year, Evans said she followed the IRS’s instructions and used the non-filers tool on the IRS’s website. She had a part-time job and felt she didn’t make enough to file a full-on return.
When nothing happened, she filed by paper, then e-filed. That’s when she ran into problems. Two returns came up in her account. She reached out to the IRS to clear it up.
“Every about four weeks, I would call in, and I would get different answers, but it all boiled down to, 'we realize Ms. Evans that you’re not an identity theft victim, we’ve submitted feedback to that department that is actually has your return and is holding it. You just have to wait 180 days until it clears the system,'” Evans said.
Days and months have come and gone with nothing changing, she said.
“I’ve escalated it all the way up to the tax advocate actually twice and I still have not gotten a callback,” Evans said.
News4, a sister station in Nashville, contacted the IRS by phone and email for answers. They received the following statements:
Please take a look at our COVID Ops page here - https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-operations-during-covid-19-mission-critical-functions-continue -- see under WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT, “Filed a return…”
If that 2019 return was filed by paper, then it could be caught in the 2019 paper processing delays due to Covid. Understood on the phones. Later in the day (or early) and sometimes later in the week for a better chance of getting through. Sounds like she used the recovery rebate credit line 30 on form 1040 for her second payment as you suggest - 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov) .
The IRS Taxpayer advocate service may be an option (link here - Taxpayer Advocate | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov) ) but without knowing a complete set of facts and circumstances, it’s hard to know or even speculate as to why things are delayed. Refund delays due happen, unfortunately, and here are some general reasons why – Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov) -- See under “Its been longer than 21 days…”
Help is on IRS.gov - Coronavirus Tax Relief and Economic Impact Payments | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov) -- The third round FAQs are quite comprehensive. There are many.
IRS Media Relations
Another IRS representative issued the following statement:
Good Afternoon Caresse,
Due to Federal Law, I am prohibited from commenting on individual taxpayer information. However, here is some general information that may be able to help your viewers.
IRS live phone assistance is extremely limited at this time. For Economic Impact Payment questions, call 800-919-9835.
If anyone is having an issue getting account information they can:
• Make an appointment at an IRS local office to get help. Appointment times vary by tax issues and office locations.
• Call the Taxpayer Advocate Service toll-free at 1-877-777-4778, or the Nashville office at 615-250-5000; fill out Form 911, Request for Taxpayer Advocate Service Assistance PDF, and fax to 855-828-2719 or mail it to the following address: IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service, P.O. Box 1698, Stop 13, Memphis, TN 38101. Local Taxpayer Advocate | Internal Revenue Service (irs.gov)
The IRS is now opening mail within normal timeframes. The IRS has also made significant progress in processing prior year returns. As of March 5, 2021, we had 2.4 million individual tax returns received prior to 2021 in the processing pipeline. Including current year returns, as of March 5, 2021, we had 9.2 million unprocessed returns in the pipeline. For prior year refunds that could not be issued in 2020 because the tax return is being corrected, reviewed or awaiting correspondence from a taxpayer, the refund will be issued as a paper check in 2021 per our normal processes. Taxpayers are encouraged to continue to check Where’s My Refund for their personalized refund status. Please refer to Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions for a list of the most common questions raised concerning refunds. More operational info is available here.
The Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet in the 2020 Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR instructions can also help determine if you are eligible for the credit and how much you can claim. The fastest way to get your Recovery Rebate Credit (sent as a tax refund) is to file electronically and have it direct deposited into your financial account. You can use a bank account, prepaid debit card or alternative financial products for your direct deposit. You will need to provide routing and account numbers.
More information on the RRC is available here.
Anyone with an income of $72,000 or less can file their federal tax return electronically for free through the IRS Free File Program. The fastest way to get your tax refund is to file electronically and have it direct deposited - contactless and free - into your financial account. You can use a bank account, prepaid debit card or alternative financial products for your direct deposit and will need to provide routing and account numbers.
News 4 also asked the IRS if they plan on making it easier for filers to contact them in the future. A representative said emails between filers and the department are out of the question, citing security reasons. The department added that if you can, avoid filing by paper and do it electronically since it is a faster procedure.
At this point, Evans is just hoping something gets done. She says she’s missed out on about $7,000 in tax returns and stimulus checks.
“I shouldn’t have to fight. I shouldn’t have to plead and beg. And spend hours, literally hours, Miss Jackman, on the phone with these people," Evans said. "This is a year! Let’s get it together."
Evans said she still feels it’s unfair that she cannot get a hold of someone so easily to solve her problem. The IRS provided a list of areas you can go that hopefully can answer consumer questions.