NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) — Fredrick Lynch said the IRS first sent him a letter early last year. “They said, ‘We found an error on your 2021 Tax Form 1040-SR, which affects the following area of your return; the Recovery Rebate Credit,” Lynch said.

That was the pandemic-era credit for Americans who did not qualify for or did not receive the full amount of the third Economic Impact Payment. Lynch was apparently one of them. That letter from the IRS went on to say the error was corrected, and would be reflected in a refund for Lynch, in the amount of $3,043.43.

Lynch waited for that money to arrive, but he waited for months. Tired of waiting, he called the agency. “I got through to them one time,” said Lynch “The IRS said that it was deposited into my account, but it wasn’t because I have the bank statements from my bank, saying it was never deposited.”

Lynch said he tried to reach the IRS, over the phone and through the mail, more than once. Each time, he got a response in the form of a letter. “One of the letters said that they would get back with me in 60 days. They never got back with me. So, I didn’t know what to do. So, I just kept writing them letters. A total of seven letters. And every time they’d write back, they’d say, ‘Give us 60 more days, give us 60 more days,” Lynch said. “But they’ve been putting me off since then. And I think time is running out for you to even get the rebate. That’s when I decided to call you guys.”

And I reached out to Jackson Hewitt Chief Tax Officer Mark Steber. “After three years, if you haven’t gotten your situation cleaned up, {the money} goes away,” said Steber. “Especially if it’s your money, it does not come and you cannot get it.”

While Steber couldn’t speak specifically to Lynch’s situation, he offered some advice for anyone who’s still waiting on a refund.

“If you’ve not claimed your tax refund, or you don’t recall it, or you don’t know, you really do need to take action,” Steber said. “There’s a couple of things you can do. You can set up your own IRS tax account, which they have now done. It’s a little tricky to go in there and validate who you are, and you have to take a selfie and it has to match a picture ID. But once you’re into that, once you’ve gotten that approval, you can look right into your tax account and see several back years. Whether you’re clean, whether you owe, whether you’re due a refund, or where they’re waiting for some information, like ID verification for yourself or a dependent. The IRS is really up to speed and running, but that doesn’t mean that you might not have to do something if in fact you’re in one of those snags that has to have some clarification.”

Steber said a certified tax professional can also help to set up that tax account, and can help you to better understand where your refund may be. As for Lynch, he has until the end of the 2024 tax season to sort it out. But Steber said if there is a significant issue, the IRS will go back as far as six years.