Dad is still waiting for his tax refund. What can we do?


Q. My father is 92 and a Korean War Veteran. I completed his 2018 federal income Tax return and we mailed it in January of 2019. He was due a refund of $22. In March, he received a letter from IRS stating that his return did not match the information provided by the Social Security Administration. After being on hold for over an hour, we were told by an IRS agent that Social Security was reporting my father was dead and we needed to have Social Security correct the information. We did, and then the IRS said his Schedule A was missing and we needed to submit documentation for his $19,999 in income. Then in December 2019 we met with an IRS agent who faxed the information to another IRS office and she said dad should receive the refund in four to six weeks. He hasn’t received that or his stimulus check. What should we do?
— Trying to help

A. We’re glad your dad has you fighting for him, and this certainly is a frustrating situation.

Because of COVID-19, it’s estimated that the IRS has 10 million unopened correspondences in its various offices, said Jonathan Donenfeld, a certified public accountant with JLD Tax & Accounting in Jersey City.

“Things that pre-COVID would have taken four to six weeks to resolve pre-COVID are now expected to take four to six months to resolve, he said.

Donenfled recommends never faxing the IRS but instead use certified mail.

He said “the IRS fax system is notorious for breaking down,” so you have no way of knowing whether it was or was not received.

He recommends you file a request with the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service and ask for help.

You can also use an IRS tool that help help check the status of a refund, but it sounds like that may not help in this case.

Even with the coronavirus crisis, we’ve heard from readers who have been able to reach an agent who has been able to help with their tax issues.

As for the stimulus payment, there are millions of people still waiting.

Email your questions to moc.p1603181903leHye1603181903noMJN1603181903@ksA1603181903.

This story was originally published on June 9, 2020 presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.