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IRS apologizes for backlog as many still waiting for refund

IRS apologizes for backlog as many still waiting for refund
Posted at 2:55 PM, Jun 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-21 14:55:13-04

If you dial 844-545-5640, the IRS Taxpayer Assistance line, you will probably get this message:

"Welcome to the internal revenue service at this time we are unable to provide live assistance."

It's the pre-recorded line that many frustrated folks have been greeted with over the last few months, as they try to track down their tax refund.

"I've been calling constantly," said Elizabeth Reitz-Holmes

Reitz-Holmes grew tired of hearing that line, so she decided to swing by the IRS' Fort Myers office, only to be met with a closed, empty office.

This comes after she says she says she got all her paperwork in back in March

Fox 4's Rochelle Alleyne: "So for three months you've been trying to get your tax return and have been calling and nothing?"Elizabeth: "Nothing."

Right now money's tight for her family because of the pandemic and now her and husband are having to choose which bills to pay and which to skip.

"We're running behind on rent because we have to keep electric on and food in the house because we have a 14-year-old daughter," said Reitz-Holmes.

I did some calling of my own and got this response from IRS spokesperson, Raphael Tolin.

"We understand there's frustration out there but we're continuing to process electronic and paper returns, issuing refunds, accepting payments," he said.

Tolin says the IRS is well aware of the backlog and they're sorry.

He's not sure when they'll have more staff in offices or at the phones, but he did offer this advice for people who are still waiting.

"Couple of things, one try not to file a second tax return with the agency that will really gum things up. If you call us about your refund there's limited phones so you may not get through at all. The best place is where is my refund at irs.gov," he said.

While the advice may be helpful to some, in the meantime many like Reitz-Holmes, are still left in a bind.

"I don't want another stimulus check. I want my tax return," she said.

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Reopening Ohio
Gov. Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio have established a plan to begin reopening Ohio businesses starting May 1. Below is a timeline of the businesses allowed to reopen.

May 1: Medical care – non-essential surgeries and procedures that do not require an overnight stay will be allowed beginning May 1.
May 4: Manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses that were ordered to cease activities may reopen on May 4, as well as general office environments.
May 12: Retail establishments and facilities will be allowed to reopen on May 12.
May 15: Salons, barbershops, day spas, tanning facilities, massage parlors, tattoo parlors and piercing businesses. Restaurants will be allowed to serve patrons on outdoor patios. More details here.
May 21: Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen for dine-in service. Read more here. Campgrounds will be allowed to reopen. Read more here.
May 22: Horse racing will be allowed to resume, with no spectators. Casinos and Racinos are not included in the reopening. Read more here.
May 26: Gyms, fitness centers, regulated pools, recreation centers and studios will be allowed to reopen, with new requirements. Non-contact and limited-contact sports leagues, such as golf, baseball and tennis will be allowed to resume. BMVs across Ohio will reopen, but government officials encourage citizens to utilize the BMVs online services when possible. Read more here.
May 31: Day care centers will be able to reopen in Ohio. Read more about the plan to reopen day cares here. Day camps and summer camps will also be allowed to operate. Details on that here.

While these announced reopenings encompass the majority of the businesses, agencies and events closed and canceled by the state's orders, the governor has not yet made an annoucements on when K-12 schools in the state will reopen, nor when places of public amusement, such as theme parks, gambling businesses, skating rinks, movie theaters, and others will be allowed to reopen. See a full list of indoor and outdoor places that remain closed here.

Click here for more details on the state's "Responsible RestartOhio" plan.