Stimulus checks could be delayed for people who used some tax advance services

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As millions of stimulus payments are sent across the country, some residents in the Mid-South are missing their money.

If you got a tax advance within the last year, the IRS might have sent your money to the wrong place.

Local experts have noticed a major problem since federal stimulus payments started being sent out about a week ago, specifically with residents that got a tax advance through a third party business.

“All of that money has been deposited into the third party accounts, and it’s online as if it’s been deposited, so they’re automatically assuming that the tax preparer has it, but we don’t,” tax professional Crystell Oliver said.

If a client uses a tax advance, they borrow against their return from the third party that does their taxes.

It appears in these cases, the IRS sent stimulus checks to the tax preparers who provided advances, not the taxpayer themselves. The tax preparers are not legally allowed to access or dispense the funds, so the payments are in limbo for now.

“These people have already spent this check in their mind, so when they say on the system that the check has been deposited, and it has not, that’s gonna cause a lot of confusion and mad people,” Oliver said.

Local leaders have been anxious to help Memphians struggling financially, but they’re unsure when exactly relief will be available.

“We want to be ready to get our economy moving safely again, but I want to emphasize, we do not know the timing of opening back up,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.

Experts said the IRS will be re-sending stimulus funds to individual taxpayers, although there will be a delay.

Mid-South tax preparers are doing their best to explain the mistake to clients, but they’re hoping the IRS publicly acknowledges the issue.

“Why did they deposit those checks into the third party banks, and how did it even happen?” Oliver said. “If we can acknowledge how it happened, us as tax professionals can relay that over to our clients.”

For more information from the IRS about stimulus payments, click this link.

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