Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tax Division lists top ways to avoid refund delays

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation typically issues 98.5% of all personal income tax refunds within 30 days after the returns are received. Still, that always leaves some taxpayers who have not received their refunds. Often, refunds are delayed because of errors involving the returns themselves.

And so, with just four weeks left to file personal income tax returns for the 2011 tax year, the Tax Division today reminded taxpayers and preparers of the top five reasons why refunds are delayed:

1.       Schedule W – If you file Form RI-1040, chances are you must use Schedule W. It’s where you list key information from all of your Forms W-2 and Forms 1099 that show Rhode Island income tax withheld. This is the second year in which Schedule W is required, but many taxpayers are still forgetting to fill it out and file it with their returns.

2.       Form RI-1040H – When you file a claim for a “rebate” of up to $300 under the statewide property-tax relief program, you must include all of the required paperwork, such as your property tax bills (if you own your house), at least three months’ worth of rent receipts (if you rent), and your Social Security paperwork (such as your Social Security Administration award letter, or Form SSA-1099). Many claimants forget.

3.       Other state’s return – If you claim a credit on your Rhode Island return for income tax you paid to another state, you must include a copy of that state’s return with your Rhode Island return. Many taxpayers forget.

4.       Math problems – Some taxpayers calculate the numbers on their returns incorrectly. Make sure to double check your math before filing.

5.       Signature – Don’t forget to sign your return before you send it in.

If you make any of the mistakes on the “top five” list above, your tax return must be set aside for manual review. “That delays processing – and refunds,” said Tax Administrator David M. Sullivan. “Please take the time to review your return before it is filed to make sure it does not contain errors.”