MILWAUKEE — For most of us, the deadline to file taxes this year isn't until April 18. But, you may need to lower your expectations of getting that refund right away as the IRS admits it's still seeing delays with its services.
Twenty-three-year-old Galina Haugh and her dad Dave have spent a lot of time on the phone trying to get a hold of someone from the IRS.
"Every time I tried calling the number that I found I was able to slightly get a hold of someone or like the automated person and then five seconds later, it would be like 'goodbye,'" said Galina.
"Every time I tried calling, it was just a 'goodbye.'"
The father and daughter learned from a tax preparer Galina had a stimulus check mailed to her in November. The problem is, she never received it. So, they're trying to figure out what steps they need to take when filing her taxes.
"I didn't know that my check was coming in the first place, so that was frustrating too," said Galina.
Dave drove to the Milwaukee IRS office looking for help.
"I walked into the office and then and only then was I given this little card with a phone number to make an appointment. So Galina has been trying to make an appointment through this line. Although each time she calls, it says 'Due to high call volume, we can't take your call, goodbye,'" said Dave.
Despite already issuing millions of tax refunds since late January, last week, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service told Yahoo Money his agency is facing "enormous challenges."
On the IRS website, it says "As of December 31, 2021, we had 6 million unprocessed individual returns."
The website also says that COVID is still causing delays to its services, including service delays for live phone support and delays for "reviewing tax returns, even for returns filed electronically."
Another taxpayer told TMJ4 he experienced delays not with the federal refund, but his state refund. He said it normally takes about a week to receive his state refund but this time around, it took almost five weeks to receive the money.
"I'm not sure what changed and why it's taking all this time," he told TMJ4.
The man told TMJ4 he didn't have a difficult time getting in touch with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and was informed "because of tax changes, it's taking a little bit longer."
"I don't know if I believe that. I don't know what changed with the state in the past year with the law," he said.
"Unfortunately a lot of the impacts were due to incorrect information being reported, folks not having that information available when they were doing their taxes," said Gina Sanchez Juarez, Director, Center for Financial Stability for La Casa de Esperanza.
Sanchez Juarez says her agency provides free tax prep for those who qualify. But, no matter where you file your taxes, if it applies in your case, she says give your preparer the letter you got from the IRS that says how much stimulus and advanced child tax credit you received last year.
"If you report that information incorrectly if you get a potential refund, it could delay that refund up to 8 months," she said.
Sanchez Juarez says if you can't find the letter, you can look up the amount in your bank statement or create an account on the IRS website and find the information that way.
Galina's case is more complicated considering she never received the funds. She and her dad plan on calling again and again, until they get answers.
Dave is questioning the IRS' challenges. He's recently worked with other government offices and didn't have an issue.
"We're all suffering from shortages of employees and goods and services but if the Social Security office can do it, why can't the IRS do it?"