Local News

No interest on late tax refunds until June

Posted March 9, 2009 5:26 p.m. EDT

— The state Department of Revenue has until the beginning of June to issue tax refunds to North Carolina taxpayers without penalty, an agency spokeswoman said Monday.

Kim Brooks said state law provides the department 45 days after April 15 – or after a late return is filed – to issue a refund before interest starts accruing on the refund.

WRAL News first reported last Thursday that the department was taking longer this year to issue refund checks so that it maintains a positive cash flow.

With unemployment lines growing and people curbing their spending, income, corporate and sales tax collections have slowed, State Controller David McCoy said. In January, for example, personal income tax collections were down 21 percent from a year ago.

The state began delaying refund checks in January and is now about 300,000 checks behind the pace of recent years, Brooks said.

McCoy and Secretary of Revenue Ken Lay said all taxpayers due a refund would eventually get their checks. It's unclear how long they might have to wait, however.

The Department of Revenue has issued 1.1 million checks so far and is issuing more each week, Brooks said.