Get Gephardt: Provo couple fights 2 years for tax refund after a preparer error sends it to stranger
Jun 22, 2023, 10:28 PM | Updated: 11:06 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — Nicole and Scott King had big plans for their refund from their 2021 federal tax return: more family time but in Hawaii. Alas, two years after filing for their nearly $3,000 return, they still don’t have their money. A tax preparer error sent their refund to the wrong place.
“Found out that it went to a different bank, entirely,” Nicole King said. “A different account entirely.”
It was a seemingly honest mistake made by their tax preparer. The money was direct deposited into the account of another of his clients. But two years later, unwinding that mistake has proved impossible.
“When I call the IRS, and they’re laughing at me like, ‘You’re the idiot, lady,’ ” Nicole King said. “I just feel frustrated.”
Despite hours on the phone with the IRS, the bank, and their tax preparer – the Kings had no idea when or even if the tax money owed them would be returned.
“I feel like we’re having to do all the work and not getting any help from anybody,” Scott King said.
“I’ve got to tell you the honest truth, I’ve never had this happen,” said Brad Graham, Scott and Nicole’s former CPA, who is also frustrated.
“Sent a letter to the IRS. Tried to call the IRS,” he said.
Graham explained his other client, the one who received the deposit from the IRS, had the money taken out of her account more than a year ago after the error was reported. Where that money is now, he could not say for sure, but he has also been powerless to get the IRS and the bank on the same page.
“Their job is to send it back to the IRS,” he said. “Which, they didn’t do.”
Well, the IRS refused talk to us about this case at all. So, we reached out to Ally Bank — where the money was sent. It also declined comment, but our messages seemed to have broken the log jam for the Kings. For, shortly after we contacted them, Scott and Nicole King said they heard from the bank. They found the money and have sent it back to the IRS, so a paper check can finally be cut to them.
For better or worse, the IRS does make it known that they largely wash their hands of mistakes. It says in a situation where the money is sent to the wrong account, if the funds are not available or the bank refuses to return the funds, the IRS cannot compel the bank to do so.
You may have to sue the person who got it to get it back.