Omaha taxpayers frustrated on refund delays

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 10:29 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - It’s that time of the year when we are gathering information to file our tax return. But many taxpayers complain the IRS still has unfinished business like refunds.

Six hours a week of immune system treatment teaches patience but Traci Smith says she can’t wait any longer on a financial lifeline with her tax refund eight months overdue.

“I’ve borrowed money to pay my bills already, I can’t borrow anymore, says Smith. I have five kids and I usually have a little extra taken out so if I need to pay something or have an emergency, I can do it.”

Nebraska Congressman Don Bacon’s Office says child credits are carefully examined which is time-consuming but the IRS is making slow steady progress. Still, his staff has a number of open cases like long delays for paper filing by senior citizens. The Penkes have waited 10 months.

“If I owed them the $11,850, I bet I’d be hearing from somebody, says Beth Penke. So, I’m thinking do they owe me, do I get interest on this?”

CPA Julie McCoy says the IRS promised interest on refunds for returns filed before July 15th last year.

“And actually pretty decent interest and I’ve got several clients who got interest that owed refund that filed before July 15th, that didn’t get their money until after July 15th,” says McCoy.

Related: What You Can Expect: IRS Operations during COVID-19

But these taxpayers say they’re losing interest trying to get answers from the IRS about their late refunds over the phone.

“You never talk to a human being it’s all automated push this button, push that button,” says Penke.

Traci Smith has talked to a taxpayer advocate in an independent section of the IRS.

The advocate tells Smith, “They are running behind, unfortunately.” Smith says, “I’m out of patience and time.”

CPA McCoy suggests those waiting months for refunds contact either the taxpayer advocate or their congressman.

“That would be a good stimulus for the economy, said Penke. Get the people back their money.”

One taxpayer says the refund delay has held up her stimulus check. The Internal Revenue Service tells 6 News that’s not always the case but if it happens the payment can be claimed on the 2020 tax filing. The IRS claims there’s significant progress on returns and its website has the latest news on refunds.

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