HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Leading retail tax accountant firm H&R Block spent Monday and Tuesday working to push through stimulus money to customers after the IRS indicated the funds were already out the door.
Millions of customers jammed phone lines of the Kansas City-based company and others lined up outside offices when they didn't recognize the accounts where the IRS said the money had been deposited.
"My stimulus check last came through the mail, and this one came on a bank account and now I don't know where it's at," said Kristin McIntosh of Hot Springs, who visited a branch Tuesday looking for direction on what she should do.
After acknowledging the hold-up Monday, company representatives tried to clear up the mechanics of what was going on.
In 2020, when H&R Block wrapped up a tax return, the filer would agree to pay the filing fees using their refund money. The company then told the IRS to send the money to what's called a refund transfer account established by an H&R Block banking partner.
That bank sends the fees to the tax preparer and then sends the rest to a customers bank direct deposit, or to a prepaid Emerald MasterCard debit card.
The IRS just sent the money to the last account they had on file from the refund and to them, that was the transfer account.
The company has been active on social media, reassuring customers and pledging to forward the funds in the next couple days.
But another glitch is affecting people who got debit cards.
"They told me that I had to call the Emerald [MasterCard] to find out if it's on there, if not then I need to call the IRS to find out where it went," McIntosh said.
She is among thousands who had their cards expire once they were depleted or tossed and lost once they were empty.
Local representatives say they are asking people in that situation to come to a branch and get new cards, but they will likely need to confirm the funds went that direction, as in McIntosh's case.
"H&R Block understands stimulus checks are vitally important for millions of Americans," a statement sent to THV11 read. "The IRS determines where second stimulus payments were sent, and in some cases, money was sent to a different account than the first stimulus payment last spring.
"We immediately deposited millions of stimulus payments to customers’ bank accounts and onto our Emerald Prepaid Mastercard® yesterday, and all direct deposits are being processed. If the IRS Get My Payment website displays an account number a customer doesn’t recognize, H&R Block customer service agents are ready to help with additional information at 800-HRBLOCK and @HRBlockAnswers on Twitter."
Local representatives from the Arkansas franchise locations referred us to the company's corporate media desk. They said no one could accommodate an on-camera or video phone interview.