Action 9 confirms the IRS is sending some stimulus money to tax preparers’ banks instead

Action 9 confirms the IRS is sending some stimulus money to tax preparers' banks instead

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stephanie Grier is like a lot of people. She used a tax prep service. In her case -- Centra Tax in the University area.

Centra gave Grier her refund up front. The IRS gave Centra’s bank, MetaBank, her actual refund and associated MetaBank with her so -- Grier said -- the IRS sent her stimulus money there too.

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“I was pissed. I was mad,” Grier told Action 9’s Jason Stoogenke. “Everybody’s walking around here, “Oh, I got my stimulus, I got my stimulus,” and I have nothing.”

“I’m like a lot of other people confused, like where’s my money? When are we going to get it?” she added.

MetaBank confirms the IRS did send it people’s stimulus money. It said it’s sending the money back to the IRS to “distribute directly to consumers.”

Some tax preparers -- like LeTisha Smalls with Tax Doc Financial in Pineville -- use another bank, a division of MetaBank, called EPS. Smalls showed Stoogenke an EPS email, saying it’s also returning the money to the IRS.

“I need the people to understand: We do not have your money. Tax preparers are not stealing taxpayers’ money. They’re going to the bank and we’re trying to figure it out. We know just as much as they do,” Smalls said.

A lot of tax preparers – like Kenisha Ingram with MWM Tax in Lancaster -- use Republic Bank. She showed Stoogenke a Republic email, saying it’s sending money to people directly, “printing and mailing these checks at our own expense” to avoid “further delays.”

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Ingram said she felt caught in the middle, then corrected it. “We’re on the forefront… not the middle,” Ingram said.

Stoogenke also asked the big tax prep companies – like H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt -- if they’re giving your money to you or sending it back to the IRS to figure out.

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H&R Block told him, if the account is open, it’ll send the money to the customer, but, if the account’s closed, it’ll send the money back to the IRS.

Jackson Hewitt didn’t respond by 2pm Friday.

Got your stimulus money, but still have questions?