Iowa Tax Refunds Delayed

Iowans who filed their 2009 tax returns by mailing in the paper form have noticed something different this year, it’s been a month since the filing deadline and they have yet to receive their refund. Accordingly, many taxpayers have contacted the Department of Revenue to obtain confirmation their tax return has at least been received and that their refund is in the mail. Unfortunately, unless the return has been manually entered into the system, there is not a way to receive such confirmation. As you can imagine it is causing heartburn in households around the state.

Concerned Iowans are turning to their state legislators with several questions. “Since my return has not been officially received by the Department will I be penalized?” The answer: No, as long as your tax return is postmarked by April 30, 2010 you will not be penalized. And, “where is my refund?” The answer: It’s on it’s way, but it’s been delayed.

Recently, the Department of Revenue acknowledged that they are behind schedule this year in processing 2009 tax returns. Specifically, the delay is associated with individuals who have filed a paper return, approximately 25% of all tax filers. Those who filed their returns electronically have not experienced the delay, because those returns are able to be processed much quicker.

Less staff to handle the work load translates into delays…

What’s the hold up? Governor Culver’s Fiscal Year 2010 ten percent across the board cut is to blame. Last year, the Department of Revenue took a substantial hit when Culver executed his across the board cut. As a result, the department has been unable to fulfill temporary positions that help expedite processing tax returns. Less staff to handle the work load translates into delays, which doesn’t bode well for families strapped for cash eagerly awaiting those refund checks.

The Department of Revenue estimates that all taxpayers should have their refunds by the end of June. Interest begins accruing on unpaid refunds on June 1, 2010.