Thousands, possibly millions, haven’t received stimulus check because of IRS error

Updated: Apr. 20, 2020 at 3:01 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Some of the eighty million stimulus checks that went out last week weren’t received by people in desperate need because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For some, that money was deposited into temporary accounts by the IRS, not the actual taxpayer’s account.

“We’ve just been dealing with trying to explain to our clients about what’s going on and why the system says money was deposited into their account and they don’t have any money in their account,” Rufus McDonald, the owner of Sonic Tax, said.

But Sonic Tax isn’t the only company dealing with this. Officials with the Internal Revenue Service say they believe this is happening across the country.

“It’s a tough process because it’s tough times right now because of COVID-19 and people are laid off and haven’t been working so everyone has a little higher sense of wanting to get the money to stay afloat,” McDonald said.

Unfortunately, McDonald said, there’s nothing he can do.

MetaBank, one of the banks dealing with this situation, released a statement stating the IRS inadvertently distributed some Economic Impact Payments to some consumers’ temporary bank accounts.

“These accounts managed by our Refund Advantage and EPS Financial tax solutions only process standard tax refunds owed to taxpayers as a result of a tax filing,” MetaBank’s statement read.

According to the IRS, many of those effected had used Refund Anticipation Loans. That’s a loan made by a lender based on your anticipated income tax refund. Essentially, it’s a way to access money before your W-2 is available.

“Even though it seems simple that they should just be able to send it and be able to disperse it but I was told by my banker that there are fees and all types of things that have not been discussed,” McDonald said. “So they are not able to disperse that money.”

According to MetaBank, they have already sent that money back to the IRS and the checks will be reissued directly to the taxpayer.

According to the IRS, however, officials don’t know how long that could take. An IRS spokesperson said under normal circumstances, it could take two to five weeks, if not longer, once the IRS is notified the money has been returned. But, these are not normal times so it could be longer.

Click here for the latest from the IRS.

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