IRS apologizes for backlog as many still waiting for refund

Posted at 9:27 PM, Jun 17, 2020

FORT MYERS, FLA — If you dial 844-545-5640, the IRS Taxpayer Assistance line, you will probably get this message:

"Welcome to the internal revenue service at this time we are unable to provide live assistance."

It's the pre-recorded line that many frustrated folks have been greeted with over the last few months, as they try to track down their tax refund.

"I've been calling constantly," said Elizabeth Reitz-Holmes

Reitz-Holmes grew tired of hearing that line, so she decided to swing by the IRS' Fort Myers office, only to be met with a closed, empty office.

This comes after she says she says she got all her paperwork in back in March

Fox 4's Rochelle Alleyne: "So for three months you've been trying to get your tax return and have been calling and nothing?"
Elizabeth: "Nothing."

Right now money's tight for her family because of the pandemic and now her and husband are having to choose which bills to pay and which to skip.

"We're running behind on rent because we have to keep electric on and food in the house because we have a 14-year-old daughter," said Reitz-Holmes.

I did some calling of my own and got this response from IRS spokesperson, Raphael Tolin.

"We understand there's frustration out there but we're continuing to process electronic and paper returns, issuing refunds, accepting payments," he said.

Tolin says the IRS is well aware of the backlog and they're sorry.

He's not sure when they'll have more staff in offices or at the phones, but he did offer this advice for people who are still waiting.

"Couple of things, one try not to file a second tax return with the agency that will really gum things up. If you call us about your refund there's limited phones so you may not get through at all. The best place is where is my refund at," he said.

While the advice may be helpful to some, in the meantime many like Reitz-Holmes, are still left in a bind.

"I don't want another stimulus check. I want my tax return," she said.