Having tax-filing problems? Free help is available

Jeff Ehling Image
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Tax documents
Tax documents are scatted on a table

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- We are hearing from people whose tax refunds are being delayed due to fraud, and others who are having a tough time getting through to the IRS, but there are places to turn for help.

IRS issues do not get much worse than Pat McDougle's.

"I had not filed in five years," said McDougle.

So Pat came here to the Neighborhood Tax Centers for free help.

The IRS-trained volunteers filed his back taxes and McDougle even worked out a payment plan with the government.

The help was so good, he's back again this year for the free tax help.

"I had a couple of W-2s and it was simple," said McDougle.

While McDougle is getting his taxes in order, experts are hearing horror stories from other taxpayers.

This year people face potential penalties for not having health insurance, but in some cases, those who could be exempt from the fines are being told they have to pay anyway.

"We help a lot of people with ITN numbers and they are exempt actually," said Cristina Cave with Neighborhood Tax Centers.

Cave says another problem, tax preparers who are adding deductions that should not be included. It makes for a bigger return but ultimately it is the tax payer, not the preparer who has to face the IRS.

"They are not the ones that have to answer the IRS once the IRS starts checking that things do not make sense," said Cave.

Getting through to the IRS has also proven difficult for some; instead of calling, Houston CPA Bob Martin says try the IRS.gov website.

"My experience has been wait time are at an all-time high, it's not unusual when you call, they'll tell you the wait time is anywhere from 15 minutes to over hour," said Martin.

Another problem, delays in getting refunds. To see where your money is you can go to http://www.irs.gov/Refunds.

Also, Monday is the first day to file for an extension.