TILTON, Ill. (WCIA) – A Vermilion County tax preparer has left her clients in the dark, and they’re worried about filing late.

Last week, many hadn’t heard from her with the deadline looming. Yet Tuesday, on the day after the filing deadline, dozens of clients were still waiting for Elsie Strako to finish the job.

One by one, people tried opening the door at Westville Tax Service in Tilton. But no one was there.

“The door is locked. So, what do you do? All I want is my stuff back,” client John Parker said.

And that’s exactly what many of them want.

“If it’s a situation where you’re unable or unwilling to do my taxes, let me get my information back so I can take it somewhere that they will take care of it,” client Joel Frazier said.

Many say Elsie Strako has had their tax documents for weeks, or months, and they don’t know whether to file an extension.

“Out of forty years, I’ve never filed late. This will be the first time I’ll have to,” Parker said.

They say she’s not answering calls or e-mails, and they’ve never had a problem like this before.

“After I heard this newscast Saturday I called again. I got a text back that said, ‘I’ll call you back.’ And then that’s it. I haven’t heard anything else from her and I’ve called every day and now her mailbox is full again,” Parker said.

Last week, Strako said in a statement tax season started out great. But, she was concerned about COVID, and switched to drop-off only. One community member said he knows Strako and believes she’s overwhelmed.

“It’s been a tough time for her as well as obviously for the community and the population because they want to get their taxes done and they want answers,” Chuck Sergent said.

Until they start getting calls back, clients aren’t sure what to do.

“I understand that tax documents are my responsibility and unfortunately it looks like I might have to take it on the chin and pivot,” Frazier said.

An IRS media relations specialist said if you have this problem… Don’t panic. You still have options. For more information on filing past the deadline, you can visit the IRS website.