After Tax Watch wrote about extended delays in processing 2012 paper tax returns in May, and the Albany Times Union detailed systemic problems with the state Dept. of Taxation and Finance’s processing system Tuesday, a state assemblywoman has begun an investigation into the delays.
Annie Rabbitt, R-Greenwood Lake (Orange County), today contacted tax and finance Commissioner Thomas Mattox, to ask about the delays, which have left some taxpayers waiting months for refunds and others unable to determine the status of their returns.
“It is absurd that New Yorkers are waiting this long and I want to know why,” Rabbitt said today in a news release. “It is unacceptable that the state, or any independent contractors, can take so long to process routine paperwork – and delay tax dollars from being returned to residents.”
Rabbitt’s release references recent reports blaming the delays on new third-party contractor hired to process paper returns. Rabbitt also criticized the state over reports that some taxpayers were forced to file by paper, instead of the faster electronic method, to get certain tax credits.
In May, Tax Watch first wrote about taxpayers who filed paper tax returns facing months-long delays for refunds while others were unable to even determine the status of their refunds. The Albany Times Union Tuesday detailed systemic issues, including the department’s need to reassign auditors to deal with the returns. Those staff changes could impact state finances as employees are being pulled from lucrative fraud and audit operations, according to the report.
The state had until May 31 to issue refunds or begin paying taxpayers interest of about 2 percent. Rabbitt said no information was available as to the number
The state has within 45 days to return refunds; for every day after that, the state is charged interest that is paid to the taxpayer on their return. The interest rate is around two percent. About 1.2 million taxpayers filed via paper but Rabbitt said no information has been made public regarding how many are impacted by delays or how much the state can expect to pay in interest.