"It was very frustrating. I just wasn't giving up though because I really earned, and I worked for that money, so of course I wanted it back," she explained.
IRS records show the $619 refund issued in May 2006, but the same records show it was undelivered.
"Somebody put my Social Security number in the system with an asterisk, that was supposedly what I was told, but I got several excuses over the years but I didn't understand it," said McAlister.
McAlister didn't give up. She said she made countless trips to her local IRS tax advocate office only to be told the refund was mailed. She would wait, but there was no check.
"It's just too many levels of red tape. It's just one hand passing it off to the other, so, they drop the ball and nobody knows who drops it, you know," said McAlister.
For eight years, she tried to fight for her refund on her own.
"That's what really bothers me, is that they have a process and I followed it to the T, I documented it, and I did everything but it still didn't work for me," said McAlister.
She was beyond fed up when she says an IRS agent told her to call me.
"And I said 'You know what, I'm just going to call Diane Wilson just like they suggested,'" said McAlister.
I got her information off to the IRS, and while they wouldn't give me any details because of the federal disclosure laws, they said a rep would contact McAlister. It still took a few weeks, but on McAlister's birthday, she got a long awaited surprise in her mailbox.
"I opened the box and I was like 'Get out of here!' Closed the mailbox and opened it again. I was like 'Okay, I'm awake and it's here," she said.
It was her 2005 tax refund she's been waiting for.
"I'm just very glad that you helped me out because I don't think I would have gotten that if you hadn't helped me with that phone call," she said.
While McAlister is happy she got her return, what she says she finds ironic is after the government held her money for 8 years, she didn't get a dime of interest on it.