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Tax Refunds and Stimulus Checks Still Delayed

Once again, taxpayers are waiting and waiting for their refunds. Unfortunately, this has been a common theme this filing season.

In 2020, the IRS flagged 5.2 million tax refunds for fraud, nearly a 50% increase over 2019. Of those returns, about 1.9 million were flagged for identity screening. The rest were earmarked for income verification.

Basically, the IRS wanted to ensure a crook wasn’t using a taxpayer’s identity to claim a tax refund. The agency mails letters, either a 5071C or 6331C letter, to taxpayers if it suspects foul play. The IRS can’t process a tax return or issue a refund until the person responds. However, most flagged returns aren’t fraudulent. In 2019, 63% of the refunds vetted for identity theft turned out to be legitimate.

While the IRS ultimately issues the money, with interest, taxpayers sometime wait months waiting for their refunds to arrive. One client waited 15 months for his refund. About 18% of refunds flagged for identity verification took more than 180 days to arrive.

Refund delays were among the top 10 most serious taxpayer problems in 2020 and it continues today. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty lengthy, drawn-out process and it doesn’t help that the IRS doesn’t have a streamlined process to handle this. Delays were exacerbated by the Covid pandemic since the IRS had to temporarily suspend some of its in-person operations, cut staff, rely on out of date technology and close processing centers. The IRS is using 2020 tax returns to determine eligibility for pandemic stimulus checks and advanced payments of the child tax credit. The agency uses information, such as annual income on a 2019 return if a 2020 return hasn’t been processed. But that may lead to reduced payments, or no payments, depending on a taxpayer’s situation.

The IRS has implemented an option for identity verification on their website. The taxpayer must first go through an authentication process called “Secure Access.” Unfortunately, there is not much luck with this systems and less than half of the taxpayers who tried succeeded in verifying their identity through this site in 2020. Such taxpayers must then interface with an IRS agent, over the phone or at a field office, for a resolution and to make matters worse the IRS doesn’t have enough staff to manage the volume efficiently. Often the taxpayer receives a response indicating, “due to overwhelming call volume, please call back at a later time or day.” The best we can offer is assistance and patience in this process which requires a manual fix by the IRS. The good news is, taxpayers will get their refunds it will just take some time. So the old saying remains today, good things come to those who wait.”

Please call or email us for more information and questions.

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Jocelyn Sihathep (Jo1)

Office Manager

We have a Sun Devil in the house! We are honored to add to our team, Jo. She is a graduate of Arizona State University (Fear the Fork) and is looking to broaden her knowledge and understanding of business and accounting.

She is the engine of our fine-tuned machine. Her “can do” attitude, commitment to customer service and outstanding organization skills allows us to focus on what matters most, our clients. She is amazing with technology and strives for excellence. She embraces the entrepreneurial spirit and is a great asset to our team.

Jocelyn Weatherley (Jo2)

Accountant

Jo was previously an accountant for a $60M company and their 13 subsidiaries. She is in charge of our accounting and bookkeeping department and serves our clients on their time schedule. Whether it is weekly, monthly or quarterly she helps provide reliable, useful and accurate information to our clients on their terms.

Jo performs full accrual accounting and is responsible for reconciling all accounts, journal entries, month end closing procedures and preparation of internal financial statements and analytics. She also assists in the preparation of sales and payroll tax returns. She holds a wide range of knowledge, from QuickBooks to travel (she spent most of her life in the UK), she’s your girl. She is excited to join the CCA team and ready to conquer tax season head on!

Dixie Cary

CPA and Tax Manager

Dixie is a Minnesota CPA and experienced accountant. She has over 25 years of accounting in both audit and tax, but her passion is tax. After years in the cold, she decided to leave the mid west and find a new home in Sunny Arizona. We are so happy that Dixie has joined our team.

Dixie leads and manages our entire tax department. She assists and leads a team through our busiest times while delivering quality, complete and accurate tax services for our clients. She is proficient in preparation, planning, and education of federal and state income taxes for individuals, businesses, estates, trusts, and exempt organizations.

Theresa Elaine Valade

CPA and Managing Partner
Theresa has over 27 years of experience in tax, audit and consulting. She was with the International CPA Firm of Arthur Anderson in Phoenix and San Francisco. She most recently was a partner with Moffitt & Company, P.C. Her areas of specialization are business consulting and advisory, audits, income tax planning and preparation, and IRS audit representation. Her industries of specialization are nonprofits, real estate, hospitality, franchises, mortgage banking and brokering, title insurance, escrow, health, and beauty.
One of Theresa’s biggest honors is being named the 2020 CPA firm of the year for her commitment and service to her clients during the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Putting passion and personalization at the forefront Theresa has led her firm to excellence by not only providing measurable results for clients but making them feel well taken care of during times of great uncertainty.
Theresa is also a member of the prestigious, Arizona Society of CPAs, ASCPA, 100% Membership Club. It is an honor to be part of this club that exhibit’s a high level of commitment to the Arizona Society of CPAs. We are privileged to be able to convey to our clients, staff, and colleagues of Theresa’s significant commitment to the CPA profession.