Widow of decorated Marine still waiting for tax refund

Retired office manager used e-file in March 'really needs the money'

Carol Whitfield has been struggling with the loss of her husband, failing vision and a five-month wait for a $3,000 tax refund she admits she “really needs.”

“My husband passed away March of last year,” Whitfield told News 6. “I’m in the process of selling my home because I can’t afford to keep it and $3,000 is a lot of money to me right now.”

Whitfield just retired from an office manager job because she is legally blind and “didn’t want to let the company down.”

She was married for 44 years, the couple had two sons and her husband was highly decorated for his service in the Marine Corps. During the Vietnam War, he earned the Purple Heart and the Medal of Valor.

“I miss him, I really miss him,” she said. “I will always love him.”

Whitfield is currently living with her son as she slowly tries to get her life back in order.

“We’ve never had a problem (with tax returns),” she recalled. “We file on a Monday or Tuesday and sometimes Friday it’s in the bank.”

Whitfield said she has used the e-file system for the past eight years with refunds arriving like clockwork.

This year the backlog of tax returns has been unprecedented.

Because of COVID-19, the CARES ACT has presented added pressure to deliver both stimulus and unemployment checks.

“I knew people needed their money from COVID and I have no problem with that,” she said. “All I want is an answer, why is it taking so long?”

Whitfield chuckled when she reasoned the IRS would not be paying interest on her refund in fact, this year is different.

Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for BankRate.com, said the IRS will be paying interest of 5% for refunds that are delayed.

“The IRS is paying interest on refunds that have been delayed because of the pandemic,” McBride said. ”The interest they’re paying is better than what we can earn in a savings account, so if there is a silver lining to that dark cloud, that could be it.”

The National Tax Payer Advocate, Erin Collins, told Congress the IRS backlog for paper tax returns was a staggering 4.7 million by mid-May and that figure did not include E-file tax returns.

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