‘It wasn’t there:’ Millions of dollars worth of stimulus checks put in wrong accounts, company says

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MILWAUKEE -- The Internal Revenue Service is sending out stimulus checks, but some of those checks are not ending up in people's bank accounts. Instead, they're winding up in the accounts of tax preparation companies by mistake.

In one case, 300,000 deposits totaling hundreds of millions of dollars were placed in the wrong accounts.

April 15 is typically tax day. Tax preparers would normally be burning the midnight oil to process people's income tax returns, but those deadlines are deferred because of the coronavirus pandemic. Clients of one tax preparation service, though, are instead burning holes in their bank accounts to make ends meet.

Stephen Powers

"Keep a nest egg put back because you never know what's going to happen, you're gonna need that money," said Stephen Powers.

He normally does his own taxes, but as of several weeks ago, he and his wife were busy and instead went to ATC Income Tax to make the process a little easier.

"We just went there and it was a mistake," Powers said. "We checked this morning and it wasn't there."

Not with his tax returns, but with something else. When he checked to see if the federal stimulus payment hit his bank account, it was nowhere to be found.

After a little digging -- and some calls to FOX6 News -- the father of three found that the payment had instead been sent to Georgia-based ATC's accounts instead of going to Powers.

The only public mention of the issue is a sign on the door of one of ATC's Milwaukee offices and its Facebook page saying the "the IRS instructed our bank to send all the funds back to the IRS" and that the error is "no fault of ours."

"Recourse, at this point, it doesn't have anything to do with that party, or with the bank that the funds were ultimately relayed to," said Kelly Brown with American Deposit Management.

Banking experts say the error could take days to fix and no doubt provides little solace to the hundreds of thousands of people desperately in need of the funds.

Calls to ATC were directed to its bank or the IRS; messages left by FOX6 News have not been returned. In the meantime, experts said you can ask for an official letter from the company explaining the issue. That letter can usually be given to a landlord or credit card company to show that the funds are on their way, but it may be a bit of time before they arrive.

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