On Your Side helps taxpayer get 2021 refund

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 4:59 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Back in March, a single mom told On Your Side she tried everything for more than a year and could not get a more than $6,000 tax refund. Finally, Ashley Austin’s 2021 tax refund arrived in the mail.

“Honestly, I didn’t get any answers until I contacted you,” she said.

She filed using TurboTax in January 2022. The refund was issued, but Austin did not get it. She says she had to close her Chime bank account because it was hacked. She forgot she tied it to her tax return. It turns out TurboTax does not have the refund. Santa Barbara Tax Products Group is the bank that handles the Refund Processing Service.

“I tried and tried to get a hold of Santa Barbara and couldn’t get a hold of them. You have the money, and you’re sitting on it. There’s no reason for you not to send it back,” Austin said.

That’s when she contacted On Your Side. We told her to file a complaint with FDIC and call her congressman.

“Without him, I would have probably never got the tax advocate to get the ball rolling,” she said.

A few weeks later, she got her money.

“I was shocked it came. At this point, it has been over a year,” she said.

“One of the most satisfying parts of this work is helping individual constituents navigate this bureaucracy, and I’m ecstatic we were able to help her get her money back,” said Rep. Eric Burlison of Missouri’s 7th District.

“Some of these big companies are entitled and feel like they don’t have to send it back because they’re collecting interest every day they have it. That’s money people work hard for, and they deserve to get that back,” said Austin.

The lesson here, If you file your own taxes using an online program, see if that program uses another company to handle your refund.

Before you close any account, ensure it’s not tied to automatic deposits.

Austin says she plans to hire a local tax professional.

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