State tax refunds delayed further by new fraud prevention procedures

Expect to wait even longer for your state tax refund this year.

The state Department of Taxation posted an update Tuesday, estimating the delay at approximately 10 to 14 weeks:

As we enter the peak tax processing period, while continuing to review tax returns for validity and accuracy, we anticipate that the timing of tax refunds will extend to a range of approximately 10 – 14 weeks. The longer processing times are in response to higher volume as well as additional scrutiny necessary to stop tax fraud that could cost the State millions of dollars. Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to expedite the processing of all tax returns and ask for the public’s continued patience.

We’ve received numerous calls to our Action Line office complaining about the delay.

The state says processing those refunds is taking longer this year because there are new procedures to prevent tax fraud.

Whether you filed your tax return on paper or electronically, the state says they’re all being delayed. In fact, the electronic returns which are usually processed faster are going through more scrutiny this year.

The state tax office says the delays are necessary. Because of increasing fraudulent claims nationwide, all tax returns with refund requests are being examined more carefully.

The state initially told taxpayers it would take six to eight weeks to process.

“We are getting a lot of calls, but I think in a lot of cases, people are just used to processing the refund faster. It is concerning to them,” said Mallory Fujitani, Department of Taxation public information officer.

Tyson Oshiro is still waiting for a refund.

“They want your money fast and you expect to get the money in a timely manner, and it’s usually the opposite way. They take their sweet time with it and they expect you to pay it on time,” he said.

It’s not sitting well with those who are counting on that check, but the state is asking for patience as staff reviewing the tax returns get used to a new system.

“We are still trying to protect them and take the extra precautions to protect all of our citizens all of our taxpayers,” Fujitani said.

If refunds are not received after eight weeks, people can get a status update by calling the tax office or visiting the Department of Taxation’s website.

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