KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - Some Missouri residents who have filed their state income taxes have been told they're not getting their money back until the end of April, but it could be much longer. Residents of Kennett told Region 8 News Wednesday they're upset with the way the state government has handled finances; however, other people said state lawmakers need time to adjust the balance sheets.
"I'm sure that they're looking at their economics and different programs that they're working in. I would assume to hold them to a different standard. We have to give them the opportunity to work within their budgets," said Chuck Riggs of H&R Block. "They are evidently dipping into reserves to make these payments, so it's not that they're saying that they're not or they can't. It's just that they're asking for a little time to rearrange and I think we should be lenient and give them that opportunity to do so."
Riggs, who owns 6 tax stores in southeast Missouri, said he's been instructed to tell clients the state is delaying income tax refund payments. Riggs said the situation has nothing to do with H&R Block.
"We have received several phone calls from clients asking, expecting their refund to be there and it has not been delivered yet, be it in the mail and because of that," said Riggs. "They are calling us, asking if there is a problem and we're trying to reassure them that it's nothing that's going on in our office at that point. That its' strictly just with the state. When the state gets their finances together, then they will resume repayment of those refunds as normal."
According to the Associated Press, Missouri is delaying income tax refund payments due to budget problems. Reports suggest the governor's office borrowed $175 million from its reserves in February and $150 million the following month. The state borrowed the money to make tax refund payments.
"In talking about the delayed refunds and the financial situation for the state of Missouri and they were having to rearrange some other financing and because of that, they were delaying refunds or putting a delay on them. The expected time for the refunds would be sometime before the end of the month and that's not a concrete answer but that's the time frame that they gave," said Riggs.
People in southeast Missouri, one of the lowest income counties in the state, said people rely on income tax returns to pay every day bills.
"Due to the economy, every little bit helps I guess, so we could all do our part but as the government being run. It's got to be concerning to everybody for the economic crisis that we're in," said Chris Wake, employee at the Kennett Post Office.
"I'm sure that the reliance upon those funds for whatever they need it for, emergency or just to pay bills, is something that's critical in this part of the country and particularly in the lower income areas of our economy," said Riggs.
George Green works in Missouri, but his wife works in Ohio. Ohio is in a similar situation. Green said his wife is due $4,000 from the state of Ohio, but they've been told it could be 90 days before they receive payment.
"The people that are not residents of the state, they're looking at their returns pretty closely and it may be 90 day time frame before you ever get it back and of course the assumption is that Ohio is kind of a depressed area right now because of all the layoffs and things like that with the industries that's going there," said Green.
"We were expecting a return and with our federal return, we got our federal return within 3 days direct deposit into the bank, and everything was fine and we were expecting the same with the state return from the state of Ohio but it just didn't turn out that way," said Green.
"I think that they will pay interest when they do pay because typically, I think by law, they have to," said Leta Banther.
Banther works with H&R Block, but 3 years ago, her state income tax refund was late.
"The refunds from Missouri are not as large as the ones from federal, so I don't think people get as excited as they would if it was a 4-5-thosuand dollar refund," said Banther.
"Normally, we do receive our state refund back a lot sooner than our federal and this year we didn't, so I made an inquiry through the Missouri web-site and I'm waiting on my return, but in the meantime I did see the report," said Wake. "After I saw the report, it made great sense. I also know that California and Kentucky are in the same financial stress so they're going to do similar things with their state refunds."
"It's very frustrating. It's not so much that we need the money. It's just the principal behind the thing. We have paid the money when we were supposed to and fulfilled our obligations to the state, but they're not doing it back to us and returning our money," said Green.
"As we have seen over the past weeks and months in different states, talking about their financial conditions, evidently Missouri is having to, I'm assuming that Missouri is having to, reach into their reserves to make payments and it just speaks that the overall economy is evidently not as good as it needs to be," said Riggs.
"We have to have a deadline of April 15th. We have to have our taxes done. I'm not sure when the state of Ohio, they're deadline is, but of course that is the deadline for us and we have to pay those taxes and have them due," said Green.