3 On Your Side

Valley man finally gets tax refund

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Erasmo Ysasi was supposed to get his tax refund in mid-March. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Erasmo Ysasi was supposed to get his tax refund in mid-March. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Ysasi did not receive his state refund for over two months. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Ysasi did not receive his state refund for over two months. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Arizona Department of Revenue said they may have taken longer to make sure his taxes were legitimant.  (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Arizona Department of Revenue said they may have taken longer to make sure his taxes were legitimant. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

A viewer in tonight's 3 On Your Side says he should have received his Arizona tax refund back in mid-March, that was over two months ago.
And he says when he calls the Arizona Department of Revenue, he gets nowhere.

Erasmo Ysasi says although he's retired, he and his dog still keep a routine.

“As soon as I put my shoes on he gets excited and I take him for a walk,” said Ysasi. 

And as for an annual routine, Ysasi says he's never missed filing his taxes.

“I gather up all my stuff, I filed my taxes on March 3rd, federal and state taxes of this year.”

[RELATED: Stolen tax information on the dark web]

Ysasi says he filed electronically and was told his state and federal refunds would be automatically direct deposited into his bank account by about mid-March.

"If you file electronically and it goes directly to your account, direct deposit, then you should receive it in 10 business days, well it's been like 60-70 days."

Turns out, Ysasi did get his federal refund back promptly and says he wasn't that worried when the State of Arizona was late to deposit his refund of $1285.

But as time dragged on, he eventually made contact with the department.

“I finally stayed on the phone long enough to talk to someone and she looked at it and she said we have no record of you filing your taxes.”

That's when Ysasi got worried. After all, he did file and he really needed his refund.

“I bet you they don't pay you interest on it but if you owe them $1250 they're gonna charge you interest.”

3 On Your Side reached out to the Arizona Department of Revenue which looked into the matter right away.

A spokesman couldn't talk specifically about Ysasi's case due to confidentiality, but he did say Ysasi's refund was probably delayed so the agency could ensure his refund was legitimate.

[MORE: Tax terror? How to prepare for next year's tax filing]

"There will be times when department officials need to take an extra look at a tax return to ensure the taxpayer isn't a victim of fraud. Or in many cases a victim of identity theft," said Ed Greenberg, who’s with the Arizona Department of Revenue. 

Greenberg pointed out however, that the department tries to process returns and issue refunds as quickly as possible while protecting taxpayer information. During this past tax filing season, refunds from e-filed returns typically took an average of 7 days or less to be issued.  

And after 3 On Your Side's involvement, Ysasi says he immediately got his refund for more than $1,285.  

“I watch Channel 3 and I see that they get a lot of problems solved for people that just don't have the access to it,” Ysasi said. 

By the way, these delays might be a good thing because the department says by taking its time and thoroughly reviewing returns, they were able to stop $150M in fraudulent refunds over the last two years.

Here is some information provided by the Arizona Department of Revenue:
The Arizona Department of Revenue’s Identity Theft Call Center’s contact information is: 
(602) 716-6300, toll-free at 1-800-352-4090 or www.azdor.gov/identitytheft.aspx

ADOR’s fraud prevention system has stopped approximately $150 million in the past two years and the focus on this area continues.
Here are some tips to prevent identity theft:

  1. Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Use strong passwords.
  2. Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card companies or state or federal tax agency.
  3. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
  4. Protect your personal data. Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card, and make sure your tax records are secure.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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