Revenue Commissioner addresses unpaid tax refunds

July 14, 2009

By Chris Vessell bio | email

OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - If you live in Alabama and haven't received your tax refund, you'll be glad to know your check will be sent out soon. At least that's what the state revenue commissioner tells News Leader 9.

More than 167,000 tax payers in Alabama still haven't received their tax refunds. "We've received a lot of feedback about slowness of paying refunds," Tim Russell, State Revenue Commissioner said.

It's a concern that has flooded the State Revenue Department with more than 40,000 calls over the past month. However, less tax dollars going into the state leaves less money for refunds.

"Never before have we had this big of a decrease percentage and gross-dollar-wise in our revenues," Russell said.

Three months after Tax Day, the Revenue Commissioner says those refunds will be repaid by Thursday. "We understand their frustration. We just ask that they consider how serious this recession is, and that they know we're going to pay those refunds, and they will get interest if its timely filed," Russell said.

If the refunds aren't paid by July 16th, the state must pay interest. Governor Riley may have helped this week when he released $100 million dollars to be placed in the Education Trust Fund.

"Funds that have been hurt the most seriously by the recession are those that have affected the Education Trust Fund, those individual income tax, sales tax, and corporate tax have been hit dramatically hard,"

Now tax collections can go straight to paying off refunds instead of being diverted into education. More than $98 million dollars will be refunded to Alabama taxpayers by Thursday.

The Revenue Commissioner says this year has been the biggest challenge for the department since it was formed in 1935.