CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State income tax refunds are running slightly ahead of the same point in 2012, thanks to increased electronic filing of returns, Tax Department spokesman Danny Forinash said Tuesday.Through midnight Tuesday, the state will have issued about 466,000 refunds totaling more than $153 million, about $6 million ahead of the same point in 2012.Last year, income tax refunds reached a total of $208 million, Forinash said. "Obviously, we've still got some refunds to issue."He said the department has received more than 755,000 tax returns, up about 5,000 from 2012, and said 78 percent of the returns were filed electronically."We feel like we're operating very efficiently this year," Forinash said. "We try to make sure we're issuing refunds as quickly and efficiently as possible."Turnaround for processing returns and issuing refunds can take as little as two weeks or longer than six weeks -- primarily depending on how taxpayers filed their returns, he said.
The shortest timeframe generally is for taxpayers who filed electronically and used direct deposit for their refunds. Conversely, taxpayers who used paper returns and requested that printed refund checks be mailed to them will have the longest wait, he said.To date, tax refund amounts are averaging $328, Forinash said.Earlier this year, Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow said lagging tax collections would require the state to tap into a $45 million income tax reserve fund for the first time in years.First funded in the early 1990s, following years when the state found itself unable to finish paying income tax refunds until late summer, recent budget surpluses have allowed the fund to remain untouched for seven years.Forinash invited taxpayers still awaiting their refunds to visit wvtax.gov and click on the "Where's my refund?" link."They should be able to check the amount of their refund and where it's at in terms of how quickly they should be getting the refund," he said.Reach Phil Kabler at email@example.com or 304-348-1220.