Government & Politics

Missouri tax refunds are late, and state must pay interest on them, auditor says

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway said her office has received more than 1,000 complaints about tax refunds this year. The state is late paying some refunds and owes taxpayers interest on that money.
Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway said her office has received more than 1,000 complaints about tax refunds this year. The state is late paying some refunds and owes taxpayers interest on that money. jhancock@kcstar.com

Still waiting for a Missouri tax refund? Then it’s late, and you are owed interest.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway reminded the state’s Department of Revenue of that in a letter Tuesday that also passed along taxpayers’ complaints about refund problems.

“Over the last six weeks, more than 1,000 Missourians have contacted my whistleblower hotline seeking information on the status of their tax refund,” said the letter to Joel Walters, director of the Department of Revenue.

The large number of calls – last year the auditor’s hotline received about 200 calls on all topics – prompted the letter.

Among the callers’ complaints were difficulty getting information about the status of a refund, inability to reach anyone with the department by phone or long waits to reach the department, disconnected calls and receiving a refund late but without interest, her letter said.

“Missourians are becoming understandably frustrated by the delay and I urge you to take all necessary steps to complete refund processing as quickly as possible,” her letter said.

Galloway’s letter also said she was forwarding taxpayer complaints and urged the Revenue Department to pursue them.

Tax refunds from the state are due 45 days after the tax return is filed. And that means refunds on all returns filed by the April 18 deadline officially were due last Friday. The state, starting in 2015, began to pay interest on late refunds. Late refunds this year earn 0.7 percent interest, according to Galloway’s office.

Missouri’s Department of Revenue has said it expects to have all refunds paid out by the end of June. It also is working to process refunds that don’t require manual review by the end of the month.

Information about the number of refunds still outstanding, the amount due and the interest owed on them was not available.

Galloway, a Democrat, is conducting an audit of the state’s tax refund practices for the last two years. She issued a subpoena April 19 for records and the Revenue Department responded the next day with documents.

Mark Davis: 816-234-4372, @mdkcstar

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