UPDATE: After News 5's story aired, TurboTax sent this statement via email on Friday:
"Both customers should be reached out to today. Also, wanted to share an update with you.
"Stimulus payments for millions of TurboTax customers affected by the IRS error will be deposited starting today, January 8th. We have been working tirelessly with the Treasury and IRS to get stimulus payments to our customers. We know how important these funds are for so many Americans and we regret that an IRS error caused a delay."
CLEVELAND — People in our area are struggling to get their stimulus money to help offset the effects of COVID-19. In fact, issues that some Americans had the first time around with stimulus checks seem to be happening again because they used third-party tax preparers.
Here’s look at the past and present problems that are hitting families hard.
“It hurts that they said, ‘Oh, help is coming.’ And it isn’t coming anytime soon,” said Katie Burgess, 27, from Akron. She said she thought the government was going to send stimulus money to help her family. It hasn’t worked out that way.
“(That money) was going to help us with everything,” said Burgess.
She told us she is still looking for her first stimulus check that was issued last spring. She’s now behind on her rent and her car payments.
“They’re just putting false hope out there for families like mine that are struggling,” she said.
We reported back in the spring about problems people were having because they used a third-party tax preparer like H&R Block. Those kinds of services opened up temporary accounts for tax refunds to be sent. So, when the IRS tried to send the stimulus money to those accounts, they had been closed, which delayed payment to a debit card called Emerald.
Burgess used TurboTax and the same kind of thing is happening again with the second stimulus check. “I’m scared because in 2-3 months I won’t have a house,” she told us. “I won’t have a car. We will hit rock bottom.”
“The IRS says not to call. TurboTax is not giving any kind of answers,” said Kim Marbury, 44, from Elyria. She told us she used TurboTax and she’s hearing that she might have to wait to get her second stimulus check until her 2020 tax refund comes through. “How is that going to help me right now?” she questioned. “How is that going to help my family right now? It’s not doing anything.”
Marbury told us she just had surgery last weekend and she’s feeling the financial pinch. “With me being off work… We thought that this was going,” she said while tearing up. “I’m sorry I’m getting emotional just because of everything that’s going on.”
We checked TurboTax on the problem and it’s offering people a second debit card to speed up the stimulus payment process.
Meanwhile, Burgess told us she’s called the IRS, her landlord, charity services, but there’s been no help so far. “No one is understanding. No one really cares,” she said. “So, I don’t know what my next steps are.”
Here’s the complete statement from TurboTax:
“The IRS recently began issuing a second round of stimulus payments to those eligible. Unfortunately, because of an IRS error, millions of payments were sent to the wrong accounts and some may not have received their stimulus payment.
"We have been working tirelessly on a solution with the Treasury and the IRS. As a result, our expectation now is that within days the error will be corrected and stimulus payments will begin being deposited into the correct bank accounts for affected TurboTax customers. s
"We know how important these funds are for so many Americans and that everyone is anxious to get their money, now more than ever.”
If you would like to check the status of your stimulus check, click here for the IRS tool.