PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The $600 dollar stimulus checks started rolling out last week, but not everyone could quickly use the money. Now two well-known tax companies are in hot water and at the center of some confusion and delays.
Some people in our area went to the IRS website to check on the status of their money and saw the money went into an account, but they didn’t recognize the account number.
So they assumed the worst — that someone stole their identity or stole their money. Turns out, it’s all a big mixup that could cost valuable time.
The tweets said it all Tuesday morning, with tax prep company H&R Block posting “we’re experiencing higher call, social media and app volume than usual.”
Customer support calls, social media and App volume remain very high. We thank you for your patience. Information is available here: https://t.co/3lGmUumzRZ and we will continue to provide updates as we can on social media. pic.twitter.com/NgHhjtsXUi
— H&R Block (@HRBlock) January 5, 2021
Victoria Lechner is one of the people constantly dialing the number.
“They would be like, ‘sorry we can’t take your phone call right now due to high call volume’ and then it would just hang up,” said Lechner.
Meghan Schiller: “And you’ve been calling since yesterday?”
Schiller: “And you haven’t heard back from anyone?”
The unemployed mom from Tarentum tells Meghan Schiller she can’t sit and wait around — this is valuable time, her bills going from due to past due.
“And my husband has been working 50 to 60 hours a week trying to make up my income and our bills are just stacking up and stacking up,” she said.
She’s one of many that logged on to the IRS Get My Payment website and saw an account number she didn’t recognize.
Tracie Frengel from New Castle is another.
“Well yesterday I checked the IRS website and it said it went to a random checking account that I’ve never — I don’t know!” Frengel said.
Frengel sat on hold with the IRS for two hours before news came out those strange account numbers actually matched some old accounts for H&R Block customers.
The only problem is –- Lechner can’t access the money.
“Then all of a sudden, they send it to an account that’s not even mine, it was never mine, it was just open from the tax company,” said Lechner.
H&R Block posted a news release saying, “We’re here to help.”
The company explained it like this: The stimulus cash for some people wound up an account that H&R Block uses for that person during tax season if the person opted to have the tax-prep fees deducted from their yearly tax return.
H&R Block said it’ll get the money to the customers in the same way a customer wanted to receive its latest refund — some by direct deposit, some by check and others on a prepaid debit card.
It’s a possible solution, but one that will take time.
“I’d catch up on bills and go buy some food and stuff like that, so it’s just – hard,” Frengel said.
Both the women had used H&R Block, but some customers of Turbo Tax are reporting the same problem.
Meghan Schiller reached out to the IRS but hasn’t heard back.