Local Politics

State says hold on tight for your tax refund

Posted March 5, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Dwindling revenue and a widening budget shortfall mean that North Carolina taxpayers will wait longer for their tax refunds, Secretary of Revenue Kenneth Lay said Thursday.

Department of Revenue, Revenue Department State tax refunds held up by cash flow

The state is not issuing refund checks to taxpayers as quickly as planned because the recession has state revenue flowing in slower than usual, Lay said.

"We have a temporary backlog due to the fact that we're having difficulty garnering funds that we're using to manage cash flow," he said.

In January, state revenues fell 14.3 percent from the same month a year ago, including a 21.4 percent drop in personal income tax collections, according to the State Controller's Office. General operating revenues were down about 6 percent for the first seven months of the fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30.

The latest projections call for the state budget deficit to hit $2.2 billion by June and easily top $3 billion in the 2009-10 fiscal year.

James Barefoot, of Raleigh, said he has been waiting on his refund for more than a month. He said he plans to use the refund to pay for medical bills from a recent surgery.

"A lot of people were relying on this money to get some bills and stuff paid off, and it's like the money is being held hostage," Barefoot said.

Lay said the delay in issuing refunds does not mean that the state doesn't have the money to pay them. Instead, the state is trying to avoid depleting its funds too quickly.

"The concern is making sure the refunds are going out expeditiously as possible so that everyone who's due a refund will get a refund, but also measuring (the state's cash flow) carefully," Lay said.

Some refunds have already gone out, and the Revenue Department is sending out checks weekly, Lay said.

Revenue department officials could not say how long it might take to speed up the process.

158 Comments

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  • gingerlynn Mar 6, 7:07 p.m.

    Change your withholding now people for 2009! Get your money each check because by this time next year they will not be able to issue the refunds at all. I upped mine to 4 and will put the extra in the bank in case I owe, but there is no way they are going to OWE me and not be able to pay!

  • any1butcarolina0405 Mar 6, 7:06 p.m.

    man what kind of interest penalty would I get if I waited until May 30th to pay.... or heck, even April 16

  • schultedean Mar 6, 5:55 p.m.

    FYI - All income tax returns filed before the April 15th deadline will not receive any refund interest until after May 30th. So if you filed your taxes as early as January and still waiting for your refund, the state doesn't have to begin paying you interest until after May 30th.

  • ncsufamily24 Mar 6, 5:48 p.m.

    agentm:
    ".....if you dont have any good ideals or do your research....and we are not the only state either."

    Well, agentm, it appears that North Carolina isn't the only state where uniformed voters live.

  • nobama Mar 6, 5:28 p.m.

    At some point they are going to have to announce that they don't really have the money to pay anyone their refunds. People will not like it but we should just look at it like a new tax and gratefully pay it like the other new taxes that Obama and the democrats are throwing at us.

  • ncsufamily24 Mar 6, 5:25 p.m.

    agentm:
    The one "ideal" that comes to mind for me is that uninformed voters make very bad choices. Why do I suspect you're among that group of voters?

  • Space Mountain Mar 6, 4:55 p.m.

    This doesn't make any sense. How is slowing down the refunds going to make any difference? It's still going to end up being the same amount of money no matter when it is refunded. This smells fishy. I wonder how the state would like it if I told them they would have to wait to get my tax dollars.

  • ncsufamily24 Mar 6, 4:49 p.m.

    agentm:
    "always want to point the finger and complain but never give any good ideals to help get out of this mess..."

  • ridgerunner Mar 6, 4:34 p.m.

    Due to lack of interest all refunds have been canceled. Bev needs the money more than we do.

  • renaizzanceman Mar 6, 4:19 p.m.

    "Garnering funds from others areas..." Here's a clue for you. Make Bev pay back that $800,000.00 she blew on her fancy inauguration party. How about making former school superintendent Mike Ward repay all the tax payer money he blew on that trip he took to Saudia Arabia? Do those two things and you'll have money to give us tax payers!

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