While some cash-strapped states are delaying their residents’ income tax refunds, Louisiana taxpayers are receiving their refunds back at a faster pace than ever.
This report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune explains that Louisiana File Online, LDR’s electronic tax filing application, gets much of the credit.
National media coverage in the past week has reported that some states are delaying tax refund checks to cope with cash-flow problems caused by the recession and declining government revenue. But Louisiana isn’t one of them. “We are not withholding or delaying refunds,” said Byron Henderson, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Revenue. In fact, the state’s refunds are moving faster than ever, thanks in part to increased use of electronic filing of tax returns. As of Friday, the state had issued 847,739 state tax refunds to individuals and joint filers totaling $426.4 million. That’s $503 per refund on average. About 85 percent of those refunds were for people who filed electronically. For those who file directly using the department’s Louisiana File Online system, the average wait for a refund is nine days. Paper filers will wait an average of six to eight weeks. The volume for electronic filers so far this tax season is as much as 30 percent ahead of last year, Henderson said. The department is expected to process about 2 million tax returns this year. Television and newspaper reports this week have identified Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, New York and North Carolina as states holding back or considering a delay for refunds. Louisiana state tax returns are due by May 15.