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Eye On Boise

Tax Commission seeks $15M transfer from general fund for tax refunds

Just as it was on March 4th, Idaho’s state Board of Examiners will be asked in the morning to transfer money from the state’s general fund to the Tax Commission’s refund account so timely refunds can continue to be paid to Idaho taxpayers who are filing their tax returns in droves. This time, the Tax Commission wants another $15 million transferred; in March, it asked for $45 million, but got only $30 million. It’s a cash-flow issue; the Tax Commission’s current projections show that it’ll transfer $18 million back to the general fund by the end of June, but now’s the time that the cash is needed as refund returns continue to pile up.

When people have to pay with their returns, 20 percent of their payments go into the refund account, while 80 percent is “swept” daily into the general fund. In March, the Tax Commission anticipated possible two-day delays in refund payments due to the cash-flow issue, but it reported today that refunds are being paid daily and on-schedule. Currently, because of the volume of returns, refunds for e-filed returns are going out in four weeks, while those for paper returns are at six to 10 weeks; that’s comparable to last year and normal for this time of year. The additional $15 million, said spokeswoman Renee Eymann, is “just kind of to cover our bases.” The Tax Commission must pay all refunds out by June 15th or start paying interest on them; the transfer, if approved, should help it avoid any interest payments.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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