On Your Side: Did you file your taxes online? Single mother waiting on 2021 tax refund

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 6:31 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Perhaps you’ve been there. You’ve waited on a hefty tax refund from Uncle Sam. Image waiting weeks, months, and now more than one year.

A single mother tells On Your Side she’s done everything she can to get her more than $6,000 refund, including contacting her congressman.

Still, no money.

“I can’t get anyone to help me,” said Ashley Austin.

Austin has a $6,772.12 refund, but the money has not reached her.

“I’m frustrated. I’m extremely frustrated,” she said.

She filed using TurboTax in January 2022. On September 27, the refund was issued. Where’d it go?

“My bank account was closed. That’s when the bank kicked it back. It only took them three days to do that,” she said.

Austin said she had to close her Chime bank account because it was hacked. She forgot she tied it to her tax return. Austin reached out to TurboTax. She got a message back that read:

TurboTax does not handle your refund at all. Santa Barbara Tax Products Group is the bank that handles the Refund Processing Service.

“I tried and tried to get a hold of Santa Barbara and couldn’t get a hold of them. You have the money, and you’re sitting on it. There’s no reason for you not to send it back,” Austin said.

According to the Better Business Bureau, the company has 1,335 complaints filed in the last twelve months. Customers plea for answers and demand their refunds. The bank has responded to every complaint, but that does not mean customers are satisfied. It has a one-star rating out of five. In cases similar to Austin’s, they tell taxpayers to contact the IRS and use what’s called a trace. Austin eventually got this email from the bank and was told to do the same.

“I’ve called the tax advocate. They will do nothing for me because they have already started the trace. We are just going in circles at this point,” she said.

Tax professionals like Tiffany Cossey tell On Your Side there’s nothing else Austin can do.

“If I were in that situation, I would do exactly what she has done. Unfortunately, I don’t know if there’s a fast way to get it resolved,” Cossey said.

Cossey recommended Austin file a complaint with the FDIC. She says it’s a good resource if you have a problem with a bank. Austin filed a complaint last week and contacted her congressman.

A representative from Congressman Eric Burlison’s office tells On Your Side they reached out to the IRS on Austin’s behalf. Since mid-February, On Your Side has repeatedly contacted TurboTax and the Santa Barbara Tax Products Group for comment. We have not heard back.

If you are waiting on a refund, check the IRS website and use the where’s my refund tool. If you’ve waited weeks, it’s probably time to contact a tax advocate. Get an IRS trace. If a third-party bank has your money, just like Austin did, file complaints with the Better Business Bureau, Attorney General, and FDIC.

It took Austin time to figure out where her money went. The lesson here, If you file your own taxes using an online program, see if that program uses another company to handle your refund.

Before you close any account, ensure it’s not tied to automatic deposits.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com