LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) — Amid a massive IRS backlog and staffing shortages, Irwin Ayes says it’s been nearly impossible for him to make an appointment with the IRS — And he really needs one.

His IRS refund check, he says, is $10,000 less than the $19,821 it was supposed to be. He said that’s because the first number on the check – a “1” – is missing. If you look closely at the check, you can see where the one starts, and then disappears.

“That ‘1’ is worth $10,000,” Ayes said, adding that he took the check to his bank but it could not be deposited.

“The discrepancy may red flag that and then you may start a real problem, so to avoid that, contact the IRS. Simple, yes? Show me how,” he said.

Ayes calls the IRS appointment number on different days, at different times, and said he gets nowhere.

“It says ‘due to the high volume of calls we’re not making appointments at this time, call back later or another day. Click.’ This is crazy. All I want to do is verify this, and if it’s incorrect, have them print the correct check,” he said.

Investigator Shannon Behnken reached out to an IRS spokesman and was told this is due to an IRS backlog and staffing shortages and is, unfortunately, normal right now. He recommended Ayes continue to call at different times of the day or send the check back and wait for a check with a corrected amount.

Behnken reached out to Congressman Gus Bilirakis and was told the office will help Ayes get in touch with the right people to make an appointment to get this straightened out.