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New Yorkers: 'Where's My State Refund?'
Society members have been fielding tax questions at their local daily newspapers, answering calls from readers as part of the Society’s annual public outreach. The Society cooperates with the dailies, which host the volunteers and publicize the free tax help.
At the Daily News, missing New York state tax refunds seemed to be the top question, according to participants.
Volunteer Barry Picker said the callers were upset at not having gotten their checks, but he couldn’t tell them why refunds haven’t been sent.
Mark H. Levin, who sits on the state Taxpayer Advisory Council and is past chair of the NYSSCPA New York, Multistate and Local Taxation Committee, said delayed state refunds are in fact a commonplace occurrence and not unique this year. The state reaches the maximum amount budgeted to refunds and has to wait until the next fiscal year begins on April 1 to pay out the rest. "It's not that the state runs out of money," according to Levin. "It's just that there's a certain amount allotted to refunds." Levin speculated that the downturn in the economy could have magnified the problem, as more people are anticipating bigger 2007 refunds.
CPAs Offer Help
The Daily News tax hotline ran for three days this year, up from two in previous years, and phones rang off the hook during panel hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participant Kamala Anantharam said it felt good to help the callers, many of whom needed the most basic tax information. “I would definitely do it again,” said Anantharam.