PITTSBURGH — Taxpayers are reporting significant delays and hurdles in receiving their tax refunds, and tell Channel 11 they can’t get answers from the IRS.
“I’m frustrated, extremely,” said Kathleen Uniatowski, of Imperial. “This is unprecedented.”
Each year, Uniatowski files her family’s tax returns, and typically receives refunds within a few weeks.
But this year, they’ve been waiting close to four months for her daughter-in-law’s return.
“She works part-time, they have a little child, this money is needed.”
Both Uniatowski and her daughter-in-law have been calling the IRS repeatedly, but can never get through. After going through a menu, they apparently hit a dead end with a recording that indicates the call cannot be answered due to high call volume, she said, adding that there’s no option to remain on hold or receive a call back.
Brandon Collins and his wife are facing the same issue. The Uniontown couple calls repeatedly, but eventually the line drops.
Their case is slightly different. They filed returns in January, and later received letters requesting identity verification in order to receive their refunds.
Collins has no idea what prompted that.
“I’ve been filing from the same address for at least 18 years, that’s why I don’t know what flag was raised,” he said.
When the couple attempted to verify their identities online, the website reportedly instructed them to call.
“I’ve called twice a day, I call in the morning and afternoon, every day now for three months and I still haven’t got through,” he said.
Collins told us he even attempted to visit a local IRS office, but was not seen as he didn’t have an appointment.
“I tried to call the number to make an appointment. It says the same thing,” Collins said. “It sucks ... that’s my money, you know, I could use it right now, I’ve got kids and I’m sitting here waiting, waiting, it’s frustrating.”
Channel 11 contacted the IRS media relations team and posed a number of questions regarding the identity verification process and issues with the customer service line.
At time of publishing this article, spokesperson Robyn Walker did not address any question directly or provide a statement, but rather referred us to this website: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-operations-during-covid-19-mission-critical-functions-continue.
That page notes telephone support is open, but “limited staffing” is causing wait times.
On the “Where’s My Refund” page, the IRS notes a “COVID-19 Processing Delay.”