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Tax refund account gets $15 million transfer from Idaho general fund

Tax refund account gets $15 million transfer from Idaho general fund

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
April 20, 2010
Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
Author Image
April 20, 2010

The Idaho Tax Commission will get an additional $15 million from the state general fund to pay out refunds on income tax returns.  The Board of Examiners, composed of the governor, secretary of state, and attorney general, approved shifting the money to pay out tax refunds Thursday will no debate during a meeting.  The board approved a similar $30 million transfer on March 4.  Members of the board say the two transfers are a cash flow issue and not a good indicator of final tax revenue numbers.

The Tax Refund Account is usually filled up by 20 percent of all the incomes taxes paid, but the state has largely paid out the account to people filing early who receive a return.  The transfers from the general fund are expected to be repaid by the end of June.  The increase in refunds for taxpayers now may isn’t changing the state’s outlook for tax collections.

Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said the tax commission asked for the full $45 million last month, which the board of examiners has now given them.  “The refund account was running low, and we needed to transfer what they wanted before,” Ysursa said.  “It was probably the same song, second verse.”  A spokesman for State Controller Donna Jones, who is a non-voting member of the Board of Examiners, called the $15 million transfer a precautionary move.

Ysursa said he expects the refund account to build back up due to people filing at the April 15 income tax deadline.  He said people who file their taxes early usually expect a refund, while those filing late don’t.  “People filing in April are generally paying,” he said.  April is the largest tax revenue month for April, and Ysursa said many inside and outside of state government will be interested in the final numbers.  “The tax commission’s going to be a real popular place about the end of the month with the news they have,” he said.

A spokesperson from the Idaho Tax Commission told IdahoReporter.com last week that someone who electronically filed tax returns near the April 15 deadline should expect a refund in three weeks.  Someone filing by paper will have a 6- to 10-week wait for a refund.

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