Over 15,000 Missourians still waiting on state tax refunds

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Mo. — There are over 15,000 total Missourians still waiting on their Missouri State 2018 income tax refund.

It’s officially six months past the Department of Revenue’s (DOR) June 1st deadline to issue refunds to Missourians that filed their state taxes on time.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway says more than 3,000 taxpayers have contacted her office trying to get their refund since initially filing.

“Let’s not forget that this is their own money. This is their own money that they are due back from the government and that’s why this is so unacceptable,” Galloway said.

When the DOR misses the deadline to issue people their refunds, it’s required to pay interest on that money.

Information received from a Sunshine Request submitted to the DOR, shows in the past few years, the DOR roughly paid between $300,000 to just over $450,000 in interest each year.

The interest paid on refunds (yearly January-November)
• 2016: $315,495.64
• 2017: $471,911.05
• 2018: $425,017.03
• 2019: $1,685,495.26

As of Nov. 21, the DOR owes over $1.5 million in interest on tax refunds that have not been issued. That’s almost four times as much money owed in interest in years past.

Who will be responsible for paying off that $1.5 million in interest? Taxpayers.

Galloway says some taxpayers say they can’t get a straight answer out of the DOR as to where their refund is.

“Many folks can’t get answers, or they get a different answer every time they call and I want to know about it,” Galloway said. “The state, the government, is working for these taxpayers, not the other way around. So it’s very frustrating when taxpayers just can’t get basic answers out of the Department of Revenue on their refund.”

According to information from the Sunshine Request, there are still 2,894 refunds pending for $2 million. There are 6,573 returns that claimed a refund pending review. The DOR also has 5,807 refunds that have not been issued for individual reasons (i.e. intercepted by another agency, under bankruptcy review, etc.), creating a total of pending refunds to be 15,274.

When we reached out to the DOR for reasons as to why there is such a big back up with the refunds, the department referred us to a statement it sent us in June claiming ‘system switch-over,’ was to blame.

“On November 13 [2018], the department did go live with a new integrated system, a once-in-a-generation upgrade to a decades-old system that was no longer efficient. Any time you bring a new system online, you can expect some growing pains.”

Anne Marie Moy, DOR Director of Strategy and Communications | June 13, 2019

If you haven’t received your 2018 Missouri State Income Tax Refund, the Auditor’s office will reach out to the DOR on your behalf. You can call the Whistleblower Hotline phone number is 1-800-347-8597. To file a complaint online, click here.

As of Nov. 21, 2019, there was a total of 1,773,619 refunds issued that totaled $914 million.

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