BizBeat: Tax time slipping away

The warm weather that’s creating all that snowy, road grime should also be a reminder that the dreaded tax day is quickly looming.

With just over a month away, fewer Missourians have filed their taxes than this same time last year.

Ted Farnen, public information director for the state Department of Revenue, said taxpayers were given less time overall to file due to the federal government’s fiscal cliff problem at the beginning of 2013.

Because state taxes typically can’t be filed until after federal taxes are calculated, the number of state tax returns filed is somewhat lagging.

“People weren’t allowed to file until Jan. 30,” Farnen said. Others taking advantage of the Federal College Education Credit were instructed not to file until even later.

So far in the 2013 tax season, the Missouri Department of Revenue has processed 888,191 returns with refunds, 86,056 returns that were even, and 227,362 where a payment had been made or is due.

Farmer noted refunds totaled $232,013,096, an average of $337 per refund.

Farnen assured taxpayers the current sequestration won’t affect tax returns.

“If you are entitled to a refund, you will get that refund,” he said.

Those who haven’t filed yet can also expect a decent turnaround. The average number of business days it takes to process a refund is around three days.

“That doesn’t mean people necessarily get their refund in three days, especially if they are getting a paper refund check in the mail,” the director said.

Anyone who files by snail mail gets their information keyed into the computer. Those filing electronically get their returns reviewed, which can be faster. Farnen said typically those seeking a return by direct deposit who have filed electronically makes the process go slightly faster. This of course, doesn’t account for any returns reflecting an error.

During its busiest time of the year, Revenue has hired 76 temporary employees to key in information.

“As we get closer to April 15, we’ll hire more, adding another shift at night,” Farnen said.

Those inquiring about their tax returns can call the department’s phone lines from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays. However, Farnen said Mondays are the busiest day of the week, Fridays a close second. If you call and get a 46-minute wait time like I did, you can also e-mail in questions to income@dor.mo.gov.

Returns can be checked online as well at dors.mo.gov/tax/taxinq/welcome.jsp

Those seeking assistance on actually filling out those income forms can call or visit the tax assistance center in Jefferson City at 301 W. High St., (573) 751-7191.

Have a story idea for Biz-Beat? Send your suggestions to bizbeat@newstribune.com.

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