State refunds slow to be issued

Published 9:02 pm Thursday, March 12, 2009

Alabama taxpayers may be forced to wait for their state income tax refunds longer than they hoped.

At the present time, the state is about 20 percent behind on issuing refunds, when compared to this time last year, according to State Revenue Commissioner Tim Russell.

From Jan. 1 to Feb. 26, the state paid $88 million in refunds.

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According to Carla Snellgrove, spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Revenue some refunds went out Thursday.

“It’s more of a timing issue, so right now (the wait time) is six to eight weeks,” Snellgrove said.

“But closer to the April 15 deadline it could be closer to 12 weeks.”

With an overwhelming majority of tax filers receiving refunds, the state has a provision that gives a specific deadline to issue refunds.

Alabama has a provision that allows the state until July 15 to issue refunds without having to pay interest, Snellgrove said.

“We get between 1.7 and 1.8 million income tax returns and well over 1 million have refunds,” Snellgrove said.

With the economic recession causing state budget cuts, the state revenue department was not able to hire any temporary clerks to help with the refund process, while last year the state was able to hire about 60 part-time clerks to help with the process, Russell told the Associated Press.