Months-long delay on tax refunds expected again this year


It’s almost time to file your taxes.

Last year, Hawaii taxpayers waited weeks, even months to receive their refunds from the state.

KHON2 has learned the same thing may happen again this year.

In 2015, delays by the State of Hawaii Department of Taxation (DOTAX) left many people wondering how long it would take them to get their refunds.

This year the wait for refunds could be just as long.

“For the 2016 tax season, the Department has adopted additional safeguards that may delay tax refunds for some taxpayers, but not all, for up to 16 weeks. We encourage taxpayers who are expecting refunds to file early. By filing early, taxpayers are more likely to receive their refund quicker. Interest may be paid if your refund is not issued by July 20, 2016. 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.” – DOTAX website.

Steven Williams, like the rest of the nation, is gearing up for January 19. That is the first day you can file your taxes with the IRS.

“It’s good to get all those records handled and turned over and put it behind you and get the refund,” Williams said.

Tax season is only days away and local tax expert, Rachel Nakooka from Rachel’s Tax Service, explains what you need to know.

“What is the biggest tip you could offer people this tax season?” KHON2 asked.

“This tax season, I believe once we have all our paperwork together, get to your tax professional as soon as you can because the state is going to take longer to give you a refund,” Nakooka said.

Last year, it took state department of taxation months to return refunds to Hawaii taxpayers, and this year it could take just as long. According to the state’s website it could take up to 16 weeks for some people to get their refunds.

Their website also says that the state may pay interest to those who do not received a refund by July 20, just like they did last year.

“They were having to do so many investigations. So it was taking 4 months or more to get your refund,” Nakooka explains.

There are a number of ways to file your taxes, from doing it online to hiring someone. No matter which option you choose, just make sure you have all your documents ready. The sooner you get it in, the better chance your refund will come back quickly.

“So get all your documents together, and so you have it ready when you go in to see someone. Then you should know what your tax refund is within and hour, and you will get it within a week,” Nakooka said.

The state says the reason for the delay is because they have adopted additional safeguards.

The deadline to file your taxes with the IRS is Monday, April 18, 2016, rather than the traditional April 15.

The deadline to file state taxes is April 20.

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