Bill would give state 30 days to issue tax refunds (updated)

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The Senate passed legislation today — the deadline for filing taxes — that would require the state to provide refunds to taxpayers within 30 days of receiving returns.

Currently, the gap between filing and receiving a refund can be about two months, according to Sen. Carl Marcellino, R-Nassau County (pictured here).

“There is no legitimate reason for the state to hold on to New Yorkers’ money,” Marcellino said in a statement. “If citizens do the right thing and file on time, the state has a responsibility to get the refunds out the door in a timely fashion.”

There would be an exception to the 30-day rule if there was a discrepancy in a return. In that case, the state would provide written notice to the taxpayer and a date by which the problem would be resolved. The state would have to pay interest to the taxpayer if it didn’t take these actions.

“Each day that the state holds onto a refund is another day when the individual deserving of that money cannot use it to meet their financial obligations or spur our economy,” Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos, R-Nassau County, said in a statement. “This bill increases the state’s accountability by creating an acceptable time frame for returning refunds back to the taxpayer.”

State Department of Taxation and Finance spokesman Geoffrey Gloak said the agency has up to 45 days after the tax-filing deadline to provide refunds. Otherwise, it has to pay interest to the taxpayer.

Refunds have gone out faster this year than in the past, he said. As of today, the department has issued 4.5 million refunds totaling $3.6 billion. Last year at this time, the agency had sent out 3.5 million refunds.

The Department of Taxation and Finance is expecting nearly 10 million tax returns this year, Gloak said.

This is the second year the GOP-controlled Senate has passed the tax-refund bill. Senators approved it April 12 last year and sent it to the Democrat-led Assembly, where it died in committee. The Assembly sponsor is Inez Barron, D-Brooklyn.

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