By Lauren Victory

CHICAGO (CBS) — How did the stimulus check debacle happen?

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reported several people he spoke to used Turbo Tax. The company has ignored CBS 2’s requests for comment, to answer the key question: how did this mess happen?

The other tax giant, H&R, is providing a ray of hope. CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reported Wednesday from its offices in Bridgeport.

The H&R Block Twitter account has been silent for more than 24 hours.

But the company’s media spokesperson told CBS 2 that all money it received should arrive in bank accounts Wednesday.

Keep CBS 2 posted if that doesn’t happen, but here’s the current situation.

“I feel relieved,” said Stephanie Wroblewski.

While certified nursing assistant Stephanie Wroblewski was treating COVID patients, her husband Drew was tending to the mystery of her missing stimulus payment.

The IRS showed the money went to an unrecognizable account. Turns out H&R Block had it.

“It freaked not only me, but quite a few people out too,” said Wroblewski.

Other confused viewers shared emails from the tax preparation business showing the IRS is being blamed for shipping stimulus checks to millions of refund transfer accounts. H&R Block uses them to collect then pass on a customer’s tax refund, while also reimbursing itself for filing fees.

Lawrence Henrikson pointed to his contract with H&R Block and its partner Axos Bank from last spring. (A) section said “we will close your refund account after your authorized payments are made.”

“If it were closed, that money that the IRS sent would’ve been immediately returned and then they would’ve issued paper checks,” Henrikson said.

CBS 2 asked multiple times about the clearly not-closed refund transfer accounts and were emailed back the message “we have no additional information to share.”

Did the feds not give H&R Block a heads up? The IRS has not returned CBS 2’s phone calls for days. The IRS has other headaches right now, like panicked calls from people who had a higher income but then got laid off during the pandemic.

Independent tax expert Wendy Barlin said some people might be eligible for stimulus money, but not receive it until they file for 2020.

“Give them your current address, your current bank account so they can find you to send the money,” Barlin said.

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Lauren Victory