North Texas

Lancaster Woman Finds IRS Help Through Taxpayer Advocate Service

This year's tax season is behind us, but there are folks who are still having problems getting their tax refund. When a Lancaster woman hit a dead end with the IRS NBC 5 Responds got on the case.

A teacher by day, a student by night.

The bills can quickly stack up for Talya Hammond, who is working on her Masters Degree. This year's tax refund money was going to go towards her tuition payment.  

Hammond filed her taxes on Feb. 1 and was expecting to get her refund in a couple of weeks. Instead, she got a notice from the IRS saying she owed them money from a 2013 tax return.

This isn't the first time Hammond received this same type of notice. She says she paid the amount two years ago, but the check was returned to her. At the time, the IRS said there was no outstanding amount owed. 

Hammond figured this notice must be another mistake, but she didn't let it sit. 

"After calling several times and several different departments, everyone's saying that [the refund is] processing. They can't see any reason for the delay or why it's been held," said Hammond.

For weeks she couldn't get answers to why she got the notice, and why her refund was delayed.

The NBC 5 Responds team connected Hammond with the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service.

It's a department she didn't know existed. Agents serve as your voice at the IRS to ensure fair treatment and help consumers with their tax problems, identity theft and incorrect returns.

Hammond learned her refund had been frozen, because according to her profile, she still owed the IRS $300.

"What [the advocate] explained to me was that the previous payment that I had sent in...the system did not reflect me owing any amount," she said.

The check she sent years before was returned because the system somehow didn't show that she owed any money. That error left her in bad standing.

Hammond says the Taxpayer Advocate Service helped in a matter of days, and Hammond finally received her refund minus the amount that she owed. 

If you're still having problems receiving a tax refund, Here are Samantha Chatman's Solutions:

  • Contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service
  • Beware of sites online offering to help with tax troubles. They can easily be scammers in disguise
  • If you're ever in need of help with your tax return, go directly to the IRS website
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