DENVER (KDVR) — Local tax experts are suggesting an alternative for people struggling to get information from the IRS on delayed tax refunds. 

Following our story Tuesday about the Brechuns, a Littleton family struggling to get a hold of the IRS for months about their tax return, dozens of viewers contacted the FOX31 Problem Solvers saying they too are having problems getting a hold of anyone with the IRS that can help or advise on getting the money they are owed.

At the latest tally on June 22, the IRS reported it had 10.5 million unprocessed tax returns and 8.8 million of them are paper returns. The IRS said paper-filed tax returns take longer to process, always.

FOX31 Problem Solvers reached out to the IRS media department asking for advice for viewers who have exhausted all suggestions shared on the IRS website. A spokesperson informed us that, until a return is in a certain stage of processing, a taxpayer is unable to track their refund status. Calling or getting an appointment will not yield a different result. The Where’s My Refund tool will show three stages of refund processing. 

Both a spokesperson and a local tax expert, Denver Tax Group owner Chadwick Elliot, say our viewers’ predicaments may make them eligible for another avenue for help.

 “They do have one more avenue, it still will be a difficult one, but it’s the best that I could think of at this moment and it is to contact the taxpayer advocate service,” Elliott said. 

Taxpayers must qualify for the local Taxpayer Advocate Service and most who do are either facing financial hardships or an IRS system issue. 

You can call to make an appointment or fill out a form online (form911) at IRS.gov.

“You can do it on the IRS website, the form is a 911 form,” Elliott said. “You explain to them your situation. You need to let them know particular dates so it’s very specific and make sure you have a good contact number on there. Usually, they’ll get back with you in about three to five business days. Someone will actually call you on your phone.”

Another option is reaching out to your member of Congress, who can help interface with the agency for you. 

“Whether it’s getting back a much-needed tax refund or solving problems with their return, hardworking Coloradans don’t have time to navigate red tape at the IRS. That’s why Congressman Crow has made it a priority of his office to help families in our community resolve their issues and get their refunds back in a timely manner,” a spokesperson with Congressman Jason Crow’s office said. 

Crow’s office has dealt with a large influx of IRS cases with the backlog and he recently pressed the IRS commissioner to help improve service standards so Coloradans start receiving timely assistance and refunds. 

In his letter to the commissioner, Crow wrote:

“We have helped constituents in dire financial straits who could not afford a delay, those at risk of losing their home or business… It is imperative that the IRS improve service standards.”