The IRS says they have issued stimulus checks to many qualified people, however, banks are asking to defer.
UNITED STATES TODAY
Americans turn to tax preparers and line up at offices across the country to find out what happened to their stimulus checks.
The answer is that the IRS sent these missing payments to an intermediary bank account if a client got an advance on their tax return, say tax specialists.
Customers alerted tax preparers to the problem when they used Get My Payment, the government’s new stimulus deposit tracking portal, and found that payments of up to $ 1,200 for individuals had been sent to an account number they didn’t recognize.
Agencies helping people file government-issued refunds are receiving calls about the single payment expected to be disbursed to 80 million Americans this week. Although many people have received the deposit, other payments may have been inadvertently sent to temporary accounts created during the tax return process.
The IRS said it was on the move to provide additional information and resolve any issues as soon as possible.
Where do the stimulus checks go?
Natalie Parchment, a Washington D.C. area tax preparation consultant, was inundated with calls and emails from customers wondering what happened to their payment.
“I had to investigate,” said Parchment.
She discovered that the unrecognized figures found on the portal were linked to refund transfer accounts, often created in the name of taxpayers who want prep fees to be deducted from refunds so they don’t have to pay. the preparers in advance.
“These last four digits on the Get My Payment portal correspond to the transfer provider information that has been submitted to the IRS,” said Parchment.
After filing your taxes with a tax professional, transfer banks such as MetaBank, Republic Bank, and Santa Barbara Tax Product Group have created temporary accounts for taxpayers who want a refund advance or deduct fees. tax preparation for a refund.
This account number and the bank routing number are sent with the income tax return to the IRS.
The IRS has deposited stimulus checks into these temporary accounts, according to MetaBank. “The IRS has not explained to us why this error occurred,” MetaBanks said in a statement.
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Why are checks deposited in the wrong accounts?
The problem has appeared among taxfilers who have set up a tax advance in previous years when filing tax returns, according to Toby Mathis, partner and lawyer at Anderson Law Group in Las Vegas, Nevada. The IRS bases stimulus checks on 2018 or 2019 tax returns, whichever is later.
A tax advance generally works as follows: When a tax preparer declares, he can lend him part of his reimbursement in advance. The IRS will then send the actual reimbursement to the preparer via a bank account opened in the depositor’s name. The loan is reimbursed on the reimbursement and the remaining part of the reimbursement is returned to the declarant.
Everyone, from mom-and-pop tax preparers to big chains like TurboTax, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt, has this option, said Mathis.
The problem is that the account where the stimulus payment was deposited did not belong to the taxpayer. It belonged to the service provider.
“The supplier’s bank is expected to reimburse the $ 1,200 payment to the IRS in these cases,” said Evan Morgan, chief tax officer of Kaufman Rossin.
These interim accounts tend to be used only for the reimbursement of a declarant in previous years, so these accounts probably no longer exist. The IRS has not yet given specific advice on how they will reissue stimulus checks if they are deposited in the wrong accounts. But normally, if a bank account is closed, a tax refund is rejected and the IRS sends a paper check to the address that appeared on the return.
What happens next?
Another possibility is that a bank will return these funds if the money ends up in the wrong account because the name on the deposit does not match the name on the person’s bank account, Mathis said. If the funds are rejected, the IRS will likely issue a paper check to the last address on the file, he said.
“For people who have moved, this could be a big problem,” says Mathis. “People already have a lot of time trying to update their information on the IRS website. “
The IRS is expected to start sending paper checks on April 24.
“If a payment is returned to the IRS, the agency will send a check to the taxpayer,” according to the Santa Barbara Tax Products Group, which removes tax preparation fees from refunds.
Who was affected?
After people in San Antonio, Texas complained about the missing checks to Snapback Tax Services, the local agency blamed the IRS for the mistake.
“The information that many of you see on the IRS website is your MetaBank account information. This is the bank that processes your tax refunds, “said Snapback Tax Services on Facebook.
In Augusta, Georgia, dozens of people flocked to Citi Tax Financial, believing that the tax preparer was responsible for the lost checks, according to local media.
A similar event took place in Tallahassee, Florida this week after confused residents stood outside Galaxy tax services with tax documents in hand.
H&R Block, the tax preparer, said its clients were affected by the confusion created by the IRS.
“We share our customers’ frustration that many of them have not yet received these much-needed payments due to IRS decisions,” the company said in a statement to USA TODAY. “We are actively working with the IRS to get stimulus payments sent directly to customer accounts. “
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