Months after filing taxes, many still awaiting refunds from IRS, North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Despite filing taxes more than eight months ago some Triangle residents are still waiting for their refund.

When it comes to federal returns the IRS is blaming the COVID-19 pandemic, but when it comes to delays with state refunds, the North Carolina Department of Revenue says COVID-19 is not to blame.

Ariel Harris, a kindergarten teacher in Durham, is one of the taxpayers waiting for her federal refund.

"I filed my taxes on March 15th online, and I'm still waiting," she said.

For Harris, the wait has been frustrating. She has called the IRS frequently, but she never got through until September.

"All we can tell you is to keep checking the IRS app," Harris recalled the IRS telling her. Checking the app hasn't helped get her money any faster. She adds, "I'm a school teacher getting paid once a month; it's rough around here. I could really use that money."

Raleigh resident Gerald Fitcher is also waiting for his tax refund, but not from the IRS, instead from North Carolina.

He filed his taxes electronically in February and got his federal return right away, but his state return remains absent.

"I waited 45 days and I called and they said...they received it and they are in the process, and that is the same statement I heard for the last eight months," adds Fitcher.

Losing patience, Fitcher got in touch with Troubleshooter Diane Wilson. "You're the only one that gets results. We watch you like a regular trooper."

The North Carolina Department of Revenue told Wilson the return processing and issuance of refunds are not delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to their enhanced identity theft protection measures, some refunds do take longer than normal to process.

When it comes to federal returns, the IRS admits refunds are delayed due to COVID-19 after it was forced to close down due to the pandemic. While their offices are back open, they're still struggling to catch up because they're still resource-challenged.

Harris said the IRS has had plenty of time to catch up and send her tax refund.

"This is the money I've earned, the money I've worked for."
As for Fitcher, after ABC11 got involved, he got his $1,200 state refund. He said to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "You do resolve things, and I want to say thank you for the help that you gave me."

If you're still waiting for your federal return, the IRS suggests you contact your local tax advocate through the IRS's website or call the IRS at 800-829-1040 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. You can also check the status of your refund here.
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