Still waiting for your tax refund? You’re not alone.

CLEVELAND – Claudia Longo is not a procrastinator. She said that every year she files her taxes early. This year, she submitted her case in February.

“We usually deposit pretty early. I don’t like to wait until the last minute, ”said Longo. “It’s usually super fast and the money is in the bank.”

But this year, of course, was not like the previous years. In March, the American Rescue Plan became law stating that the first $ 10,200 in unemployment benefits would not be taxable income. When this happened, Longo’s tax preparer filed an amendment on his behalf.

“Apparently after doing that he announced that the IRS was going to do everything automatically, with unemployment, but it was too late for us because we had already tabled the amendment,” she said.

Five months later, Longo is still awaiting his reimbursement.

“At first I was just checking my bank and I thought it was weird,” she said.

It’s called the IRS.

“Sometimes you wait an hour and that kicks you out of the queue. I mean, it’s very frustrating, ”Longo said.

She called her accountant.

“He said, ‘There’s not much I can do. They’re going to give me the same answer they give you, they’re just processing it, ”she said.

She has logged into the IRS Refund Tracker more times than she can count.

“He said he was not treated,” she said.

She said she was owed about $ 7,500, and that does not take into account the child tax credits for her two children.

Meltrice Sharpe is a CPA and Managing Partner of CLE Consulting Firm. Among other services, the company declares corporate and personal taxes. Sharpe said they too were inundated with calls from clients asking when they would get their tax refund.

“People aren’t getting the refunds they’re used to in less than 21 days,” Sharpe said. “It can be very frustrating, but the best advice we give people is patience. “

She said the problem is the IRS is behind schedule and the organization has entered the 2020 tax season, with arrears from 2019.

“It’s not that your tax preparer did something wrong, it’s just that there is a backlog,” she said. “The same hour or two that you would be waiting, we are waiting, we are also waiting. The same hang-up you get, we’re going to have that too.

Nearly 15 million people across the United States are waiting for a tax refund. She noted that the bad situation is compounded for the IRS when you add a pandemic and a labor shortage.

“You think about the IRS employees and what they’ve had to do over the last year and a half is do follow-up checks. They change the tax code and tax laws consistently and consistently using outdated systems, ”Sharpe said.

She is frustrated too.

“It’s a really sad situation. A lot of these people whose repayments are suspended really, really need their money, ”she said.

Sharpe noted that the best thing you can do is not to call the IRS because you probably won’t be able to contact someone who can fix your situation, but said to check the status of your refund on the site. IRS Web.

“It won’t give you, you know, why your reason is withheld, but it will tell you, in some cases, that they received it, that it is being treated, that it has been suspended,” Sharpe said.

Longo and Sharpe echoed the same sentiments about how to tackle the issue, noting that perhaps it is time for elected officials to step in and help.

“It will take funds to finance an updated and more efficient tax system. It will take funding to hire more people, thinking about potential innovative ways of doing things by leveraging outsourcing, third party companies to help with that, ”said Sharpe.

Longo reached out to Senator Sherrod Brown’s office to see if he could help and spoke to a representative who she hopes can get things done for her.

“I feel like there’s not much I can do,” she said.

Sharpe said she is not convinced the backlog will disappear anytime soon and believes the sheer volume of unprocessed refunds will continue into the 2021 tax season.

News 5 has contacted the office of Senator Brown and Senator Rob Portman for comment. Brown’s office hasn’t returned.

A spokesperson for Portman said “As a member of the finance committee, Rob shares concerns about the backlog and has contacted the IRS and encouraged them to correct his backlog and other customer service issues.”

The IRS said this:

The IRS opens the mail within the normal timelines, and all individual paper and electronic returns received before April 2021 have been processed if the return was free of errors or required further review. As of July 24, 2021, we had 14.7 million unprocessed individual returns. Unprocessed individual returns include returns for the 2020 tax year such as those requiring correction [irs.gov] the amount of the Recovery Rebate Credit or the validation of 2019 income used to calculate the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Supplemental Child Tax Credit (ACTC). This job does not require us to correspond with taxpayers, but does require special handling by an IRS employee. days. If, therefore, a correction is made to an RRC, EITC, or ACTC claimed in the return, the IRS will send an explanation to the taxpayers. Taxpayers are encouraged to continue checking Where’s my refund? [irs.gov] for their personalized reimbursement status and can consult Frequently Asked Questions About Tax Season Refund [irs.gov].

How long you may have to wait: The IRS understands the importance of prompt processing of tax returns and issuing refunds. We have processed all error-free returns received before April 2021 and continue to process returns that need to be manually reviewed due to errors. We continue to redirect tax returns and taxpayer correspondence from late locations to locations where more staff is available, and we are taking other steps to minimize delays. Tax returns are opened and processed in the order of receipt. As the return is processed, whether it was filed electronically or on paper, it may be delayed because it contains an error, including errors regarding the recovery remittance credit, missing information or suspected identity theft or fraud. If we can fix it without contacting you, we will. If we need more information or if you need to verify that it was you who sent the tax return, we will write you a letter. It may take 90-120 days to resolve these issues depending on the speed and accuracy of your response and the ability of IRS staff trained and working under social distancing requirements to complete processing your return. .

What you should do: In most cases, no further action is needed, but you can check Where is my refund or you can check your Account [irs.gov]. If you’ve filed electronically and received an acknowledgment, you don’t need to take any action other than responding promptly to any request for information. If you filed on paper, check Where is my refund? If it tells you that we have received your return or that we are processing or reviewing it, we will process your return, but it may be under review. We are working hard to eliminate the backlog. Please do not file a second tax return or contact the IRS regarding the status of your return.

With regard to amended returns, there are certain situations where this is appropriate:

Most taxpayers don’t need to take action, and there’s no need to call the IRS. However, if, due to the excluded unemployment benefit, taxpayers are now eligible for any deductions or credits not claimed on the original return, they must complete a Form 1040-X, Amended US Individual Income Tax Return. .

Taxpayers should file an amended return if:

  • did not submit a Schedule 8812 with the original return to claim the additional child tax credit and are now eligible for the credit after exclusion from unemployment compensation;
  • did not submit an EIC Schedule with the original return to claim the earned income tax credit (with eligible dependents) and are now eligible for the credit after exclusion from unemployment benefit;
  • are now eligible for any other credit and / or deduction not listed below. Be sure to include any required forms or schedules.

Taxpayers do not need to file an amended return if:

  • already filed an income tax return and did not request exclusion from unemployment; the IRS will determine the correct taxable amount of unemployment benefit and tax;
  • have an adjustment, due to the exclusion, which will result in an increase in the non-refundable or refundable credits shown on the original return;
  • did not claim the following credits on their tax return but are now eligible when the unemployment exclusion is applied: Recovery Rebate Credit, Earned Income Credit with no qualifying dependents, or Advance Premium Tax Credit. The IRS will calculate the credit and include it in any overpayment;
  • has filed a joint declaration of marriage deposit, lives in a community property state and has entered a lower exclusion amount than he is entitled to on Schedule 1, line 8.

Taxpayers will typically receive letters from the IRS within 30 days of the adjustment, notifying them of the type of adjustment made (such as a refund, payment of an IRS debt, or payment clearing for other authorized debts. ) and the amount of the adjustment.

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