Many Minnesotans still waiting on tax refunds

A growing number of people in the Twin Cities metro have been waiting weeks to receive their state tax refunds, and that issue appears to be expanding statewide.

Pete Hansen is the franchise owner of five Liberty Tax Service locations across the Twin Cities. In years past, he says state tax returns have averaged about 15 days, while early filers this year are waiting three to four weeks. When employees have called the Minnesota Department of Revenue, some have been told it could up to 90 days.

At the federal level, the IRS has already warned returns will take longer this year because of added security measures against tax fraud, but promises most federal refunds within 21 days.

The department refuses to commit to any sort of time line for state returns, explaining, “Every tax return is different and we review every return to make sure the right refund goes to the right person."

The full statement from the state Department of Revenue reads:

“We continue to receive, process, and issue thousands of refunds each day. At this point in time, we are processing returns and issuing refunds at similar rates compared to previous years, however the time to process will vary for individual taxpayers from year to year.  Every tax return is different and we review every return to make sure the right refund goes to the right person. We understand that refunds are important to people and we are working as quickly as we can to review returns for accuracy and for potential refund fraud through identity theft.  Unfortunately, criminals are now using stolen identify information to file tax returns under a victim’s name. As more and more identities are stolen and used for unlawful purposes, the department needs to take steps to protect Minnesota taxpayers and their refunds – and the state’s general fund – from criminals. Protecting taxpayer refunds from thieves means that some returns could take longer to process than others. If we need more information to process a return, we will contact the taxpayer.“

The department has also temporarily suspended the ability for people to comments and post complaints on its Facebook page. They say people were posting personal information, including social security numbers and addresses. 

Mike Crabtree, a member of the Minnesota Society of CPAs says he’s noticing other delays.

“A lot of our clients are just getting their information on their investment accounts now, like this week, so we haven’t been filing as many individual returns as of this date as we might,” he said.