State tax refunds taking longer to process than officials said
Wed, 25 Mar 2009 03:19:13 GMT —
Update, Thurs. 4:45 p.m.:
KRCG'S FactFinder team has been double checking numbers the Department of Revenue gave us.
Earlier this week the department told Missourians were getting their state tax refund's processed on an average of three to five days.
But viewers, and some workers at the Department of Revenue said it's taking longer... a lot longer...to the tune of four to six weeks.
Sidestepping the officials, KRCG called the revenue department's 1-800 number.
The operator on the line told what our viewers said: expect your refund in about a month.
Revenue department officials we called would not confirm that average, b ut, they did have an explanation for why it's taking longer.
"In this year's budget we are trying to do more with fewer people," says Department of Revenue Spokesman Ted Farnen. "During tax season, the department has traditionally hired about 300 temporary employees to help process the returns. This year we only have 127. So that's going to affect how quickly the returns are processed."
Officials also say that wait time will get a lot longer during the next three weeks as another 1.2 million returns flood their offices.
We checked last year's numbers and discovered that the department sent out return checks an average of 3.88 days after receiving a tax return form.
That's compared to this year's estimate of four to six weeks.
With the April 15 tax deadline just three weeks away, KRCG News' FactFinder team checked to see how quickly you can expect to see your refund from the state.
The Department of Revenue says e-filed returns are processed in about two days, while paper returns take three to five days.
Paper checks then take another two days to arrive in your mailbox.
If you want your money quicker, you can elect to have direct deposit. But you better act quick if you want your money in a hurry. The processing time will go up over the next few weeks, according to a department spokesperson.
The reason: Since January, the department has processed more than 1.5 million (1,574,587) returns. But they expect another 1.2 million (1,225,000) to arrive in just the next three weeks. Also, the Revenue Department has fewer workers this tax season because of budget cuts.
Another interesting trend this year: more people are skipping tax preparation stores.
H&R Block blames this decline on people doing their own taxes to save money.