GURLEY, Ala. (WHNT) – Nearly five months have passed since tax day and many Alabama residents still have not received their state income tax refund.
George Walley is a small business owner in Gurley and he is one of more than 13,000 Alabamians still waiting for his refund check.
He filed his taxes on April 3rd and, as of Wednesday, has yet to receive his claim.
“If you owe them money, they send you a really nasty letter that says pledge your first-born, male child or we’re going to send two guys to break your kneecaps,” said Walley. “But if they owe you money, they go, ‘don’t bother calling us, we’ll get to you when we feel like it.’”
According to the Alabama Department of Revenue, the state implemented a new computer algorithm this year to help detect fraud and identity theft.
The new system slowed about 100,000 refunds.
“If ID theft was not such a problem, we wouldn’t have to do this,” said state revenue commissioner Julie Magee. “The criminals have just gotten greedier.”
Because of that delay, the state now has to pay three percent interest with refunds issued after July 15th.
The move safeguards funds, but for small business owners, like Walley, the extra interest does not help pay the bills now.
“This wasn’t a great year and so, it sure would help a little if we got the refund,” said Walley, “because the house payment, the mortgage company doesn’t care whether you’ve had a bad year or not, they want their mortgage payment.”
Department of revenue officials say that next year’s tax program will be more streamlined.