Tax Refund Drama: Not Just for California Anymore



First of all, can I just say how hilarious it is that Missouri's revenue secretary is named Kenneth Lay?! Oh the LOLZ are never-ending.

Reuters on the tax drama which has now sufficiently made its way to middle America:

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Many U.S. taxpayers are eagerly anticipating a quick influx of cash from their states as they file income tax returns ahead of the April 15 deadline, but for some, the refund check may not be in the mail.

With most states struggling with big revenue decreases due to the economic recession, taxpayers anxious to bolster their own deflated finances may find the wait for refund checks is longer this year.

In Missouri this week, the state reported that gross tax collections fell by 4.3 percent in the third quarter of fiscal 2009 compared to the same period in fiscal 2008.

"We can't send refunds out if we don't have the money," said Ted Farnen, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Revenue.

Josh Barro, staff economist at the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research group in Washington, D.C., said refund delays were unusual but not unprecedented.

He added that while refund delays popped up in only a few states so far this year, continuing revenue shortfalls could lead others to resort to this "band-aid" tactic.

"This doesn't solve a budget crisis, but it gives you a little float," Barro said.

North Carolina, facing a $2 billion deficit in its current budget, is about four weeks behind where it would normally be in sending out refund checks, according to Kenneth Lay, the state's revenue secretary.

"We're managing the distribution of checks very carefully," he said.

Lay added while the state hopes to catch up by mid-May, there was understandable anxiety on the part of taxpayers who need their refunds due to the sour economic conditions.

"We're telling people 'You'll get your refund check, it's just taking a little longer this year,'" Lay said.

That's what California said too, and while they've averted the crisis for this year, it doesn't look likely that they'll be able to pull it off for 2010 without some serious restructuring; restructuring being tax revolts and riots.

Broke states: putting the "fun" in tax refund since 2009...