Tax refund money withheld after ‘glitch’ in Charleston County

VIDEO: Tax refund money withheld after ‘glitch’ in Charleston County

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A tax refund is often a windfall injection of money many look forward to in spring, but some in Charleston County are find their checks lighter than usual or redirected entirely.

Crystal Henderson recently received a letter from the South Carolina Department of Revenue notifying her that a portion of her refund was being withheld and directly sent to Charleston County EMS.

“It was $125.30 plus the $25.00 administration fee that they charged on top of that,” Henderson said. “I was concerned. I started thinking back because. . . I knew I had not used the EMS.”

Henderson nor her husband had used EMS services in 2020 and therefore should not have an outstanding bill. She called the county and they discovered she had fallen victim to a computer glitch.

A county spokesperson says they confirmed there was a glitch in their billing software provider that created the problem.

“Charleston County EMS is currently working with its third party billing vendor and the Department of Revenue to identify citizens who may have been impacted by a debt set-off error. The error was caused by a computer glitch from our third party vendor,” the county said through a prepared statement. “Charleston County has directed the vendor to cease further processing of debt set-off until the issue is resolved. This glitch may have affected patients who received services prior to July 1, 2018.”

The county has received calls from at least 75 people so far but do not yet know how many people could be affected in all. If you received a letter, they say to contact Charleston County EMS at 843-202-6722.

Henderson says she wanted to bring awareness to this glitch. She had to make several phone calls before she got any answers. She thinks some people might not catch the error.

“A lot of people may not pick up on it. I just happened to be at home, and I was able to make some phone calls and find out, no this was not legitimate, and they had no right to do that,” Henderson said.

In the middle of a pandemic $150 can go a long way. Henderson says people need that money.

“It’s very important. I mean, $150 that’s going to pay a couple of my bills,” Henderson said. “If there’s a glitch in their system, why haven’t they done anything about it. The people who can’t follow up on it, they’re losing their money.”

Henderson says she should not have to make multiple phone calls to get the problem fixed. She says the county should be calling the victims of the glitch, not the other way around.

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