Houston woman waits all year for tax return; over 1M people still await refunds

More than one million people are still waiting for tax refunds from the IRS. The IRS says it’s still sorting through more than a million pieces of mail and trying to finish returns.  

FOX 26 worked to help a Houston woman get her tax refund and stimulus checks when they were deposited to the wrong account, but it took months. 

"My date of deposit was supposed to be Feburary 26, and February 26 came around and no money," said Crystal Quintero.

Quintero says she was sent back and forth between Wells Fargo and the IRS when she says her tax preparer made a one-digit error, leading her tax refund and stimulus check to be deposited into the wrong bank account. 


"Called back the next day, they say the money is stuck, we can't return it. I said, what do you mean by stuck? They said we don't really know. Call the IRS," Quintero told us in frustration. "I called the IRS again they said I'm so sorry, we go off of what the income tax return says."

We reached out to Wells Fargo on her behalf, which then sent the money back to the IRS.  And we contacted the IRS, which told us they couldn't discuss her case with us due to privacy laws. It took seven months for Quintero to finally collect her checks. 

"I was counting on this money to make repairs on my house and to have other things done, put tires on my car, those big expenses that are not in your day-to-day budget," said Quintero.

During the shutdown, IRS staff processed some electronically filed tax returns and stimulus checks, then the tax filing deadline was extended to July 15. But the IRS is still digging out from a major backlog since reopening a few months ago.  

The IRS declined to be interviewed, but tells us taxpayers can check on their refunds on its Where's My Refund page on IRS.gov, and on stimulus checks on its Get My Payment page.  


If you don't receive your stimulus check, or it's not the full amount expected, you can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.  

Quintero says she finally received her checks last week, nearly a year after filing her tax return. 

"I basically have my car sitting in my driveway that I can’t get tires on.  I’ve overdrafted a couple of times on my bank account trying to very carefully pay the minimum on everything," she told us.  


The IRS is paying interest on late refunds: 5% annual interest on refunds issued before June 30 and 3% annual interest on refunds issued before September 1. 

If you need to reach the IRS, officials suggest you contact a local branch office or the Taxpayer Advocate Service at (877) 777-4778.