Good Question: Where’s The Tax Refund?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Most of us have already filed our taxes, and many have already received our income tax refunds from the state and the federal government. However, many are still waiting, so where’s their refund?

“In years past, I’ve always gotten it right away,” said Courtney Shutes, a Woodbury resident. “Four or 5 days tops.”

But it’s been two weeks since she mailed in her return. According to the State of Minnesota’s website, Shute won’t get her refund for awhile.

“The website was saying at least 4 weeks, maybe 8. I thought that couldn’t be true,” she said, so she called the state, “and they told me the same thing. I was shocked!”

WCCO-TV web producer Jeff Wald is experiencing the same frustration.

“We filed our return six weeks ago. We have not seen a dime yet,” said Wald.

Wald and his wife filed electronically, which makes them even more confused about the delay.

“It’s crazy, frustrating, maddening. It makes me want to tear my hair out,” he said.

According to the IRS, as of April 9, the federal government had received nearly 3 million tax returns, they hadn’t processed. And that’s nine days before the April 18 deadline.

The IRS tells us that typically, the later you send in your return, the longer you have to wait.

One reason for the delays with 2011 returns: the U.S. Congress passed a bunch of changes to tax law in December. It took the IRS until Feb. 14 to get those changes into their systems. People who itemized their deductions could not submit their tax returns until after mid-February.

Plus, the IRS had a glitch in processing returns from people who bought a new home in 2008, took a credit, and had to start paying back that credit this year. According to the government, that affects a “small percentage” of filers.

If you file electronically, generally you’ll get your refund quicker, because no one has to manually scan in your form. Jeff Wald did e-file, but he said he had to make a correction after he filed the initial form. According to the IRS, corrected and amended returns can take up to 4 months to process.

“I always get a new Easter dress, it’s my big splurge,” said Schutes, who noted she didn’t expect to get that tax refund Easter dress money in time for Saturday’s planned shopping.

But Schutes sent her return through the regular mail. The state and the feds are so backed up at the last minute, they’re saying it could take 90 days!

“I’ve been paying my taxes all year, to wait even more is aggravating,” she said.

According to the Minnesota Office of Management and Budget, there are about 180 employees working on processing tax returns, but the state expects 3 million individual returns in any given year.

More from Jason DeRusha
  • Pork. Chop Guy

    Not really a big story. An amended return is going to take longer. And not being able to buy an Easter dress – cry mean river.

  • M B

    I’m not a tax professional, but this, ladies and gentlemen, is why after a couple years at your current withholding levels, you change your withholding so the government doesn’t hold on to so much over the year.
    It’s better that you take that extra money throughout the year and invest it instead of using the for splurges all at once. That way, YOU are making interest (or returns) on the money instead of the government.
    Although, that interest is, ahem, taxable. There’s irony in that somewhere..

  • dave

    Adjust your deductions with your employer so they don’t take out so much money and you aren’t loaning it to the GOV for free, then you won’t have to worry about getting it back! Just be carefull so you don’t have to pay in a big lump sum either. It always amazes me that people get so excited about doing taxes and getting a return, yah it was your moeny in the first place that you loaned them interest free! lol!

  • badbean

    We sent ours in electronically the first week of February, and just got our state back.

  • Kevin

    The good news is that 47% of the population pays no taxes so they don’t have to wait. Maybe we can up that by taxing the rich more. Those greedy busters.

    • Jim

      Many people don’t pay income taxes because they don’t make very much money, but everyone pays taxes in one form or another. To say almost half the population doesn’t pay taxes is ignorant or intentionally misleading.

      • Tax Payer

        Jim you should check on all the Samillians in our country. They have 7 years free tax also free medical and housing. Check out all the other immigrants that have come into our country in the last 20 years and see how much they did not have to pay and got free enitielments

        • Jim

          All the who?

          Again, you either don’t understand how taxes work in this country or you aren’t interested in the facts. LOTS of people don’t pay INCOME taxes, but EVERYONE pays taxes in one form or another.

          Personally I’m a supporter of everyone, rich poor and in between, paying the same income tax rate, like 20% or something. Close the loopholes and write-offs, close the offshore accounts and tax shelters. Everyone pays 20%, period.

          • Fair

            Exactly! Everyone living/working in this country should pay the same fixed percentage regardless of race, age, immigration status or net worth.

  • Julian

    Is it time to go to a flat tithe across the board, no deductibles, no exemptions, no bureaucracies for the feds and half that for the state?

  • Mike

    Hey lady……don’t buy the dress if you need tax return money to be able to do so……jeezzzz.

  • William DeCoursey

    Blame the delayfor state refunds on the fact that the GOP State Legislators failed to adopt all of the federal tax provisions enacted in 2010 that affect MN taxes. There were a series of “dumb” errors and foul ups on the part of the MN Revenue service and the State House that resulted in the wrong information being given to Turbo tax and other Tax software developers. Even after it supposedly was corrected,, on March 21st, it still isn’t right. It effects anyone who filed their state electronically befire Narcg 21st. Contact your state legislators to complain. See

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live