ATLANTA - Angry customers visited offices of ATC and other income tax preparation companies across metro Atlanta Wednesday, demanding answers about their stimulus payments. Each one had the same complaint, saying their stimulus funds were deposited into third-party bank accounts, not their own. Those accounts were set up to allow taxpayers to receive refunds, but were not intended for the stimulus payments.
"All of us have different accounts so we don't understand why our money would end up in the company's account," said Monica Orr, a DeKalb County taxpayer who filed her federal taxes through ATC Income Tax.
FOX 5 received complaints Wednesday from customers of various tax preparers across metro Atlanta--all said they couldn't get answers about when they will have access to their stimulus checks. FOX 5 reached out to the Internal Revenue Service. No response yet, but a Marketing Coordinator for ATC told FOX 5's Portia Bruner the problem rests solely with the IRS.
"The IRS crippled our operations by doing what they said they weren't going to do. The IRS sent thousands of stimulus payments that should have been sent directly to taxpayers, to our bank partner Refund Advantage." said Marietta ATC franchisee Michael Oden.
He said, by law, the money must be returned to the IRS so that paper stimulus checks can then be reissued to taxpayers.
"But wait, it gets worse. Now our clients can't update the IRS's Economic Stimulus portal with up-to-date banking information because the portal now informs them their Stimulus Payments have been deposited into their account. My gut tells me this will continue to happen in the coming weeks," Oden said.
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DeKalb County mother Camera Sellars told FOX 5, the problem just makes hard times during the COVID-19 pandemic even worse.
"I'm an essential employee, but my hours have been cut and I still have bills to pay and I still have to pay day care. This is just wrong," said Sellars, who was one of many consumers who filed her taxes through the ATC office on Memorial Drive in DeKalb County.
“Our bank partner received 300,000 plus stimulus payments today, when -- by law-- they're not supposed to handle any funds outside of a tax refund,” Oden said.
Oden says the company sent the money back to the IRS because it was never supposed to get the funds in the first place.
“Now they’re calling us thinking we’re holding onto their money,” he said.
What’s worse, the issue can’t be cleared up on the IRS website.
“When you go online to try to update info you’re locked out because funds have been distributed,” he told FOX 5’s Alex Whittler.
“We just don’t want public or clients to think this is something we’ve strategically or maliciously done, or have any part in doing,” he said.
It’s not clear how or when the stimulus checks will be redistributed to those customers.
To check with the IRS for the status of stimulus payments and information on taxes visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.
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