PHOENIX (3 On Your Side) -- So far this tax season, about 1.6 million individual state tax returns have been filed in Arizona, according to the Department of Revenue. That's roughly half of the 3 million total individual returns the state expects to receive.
"That is relatively the same as it was last year," Michelle Carella, a spokesperson for the agency, told 3 On Your Side. "We're seeing over 90% of taxpayers are filing electronically, which is great because that’s more efficient, more secure."
Taxpayers who are owed refunds from the state are receiving between $500 and $600 on average, and there are no delays in processing state returns, according to Carella.
"If you file electronically and choose to get a direct deposit, you’ll see a refund within a couple weeks," she said. "If you file by paper, we’re seeing about six to eight weeks turnaround for those refunds."
Tax Tips from AZDOR to avoid delays:
- E-file and designate any refund for direct deposit to your bank
- If filing a paper return, use black ink and print on white paper
- Verify you are using the correct tax year form by looking at the upper right corner
- Ensure all the necessary lines and forms are filled out properly
- Don't misspell names or use two different names
- Make sure key information like your tax ID number, Social Security number, routing number, or account number are correct in all the appropriate boxes
- Double-check to ensure you have all the information and supporting documentation
- Do not staple any items to the return. Do not staple any documents, schedules or payments to your return
- Don't forget to sign and date your return
- If sending a paper payment, include your voucher, as the department needs your Social Security number or employee identification number, along with the tax period and tax type
Last week, the IRS announced it is pushing back the federal tax deadline to May 17, acknowledging many people are still struggling during the pandemic.
So far, Arizona state taxes remain due on the traditional April 15 tax filing deadline, but that could change.
"The state has not made a decision to extend the deadline yet, but we are having those discussions," Carella said. "We try and stay in touch with the IRS as much as possible. Sometimes things just happen very quickly, and we’re just trying to prepare and figure out those decisions as soon as possible."
"It's ultimately a legislative decision, a decision from the state government if we should extend the deadline," she added. "We always want to make taxes as easy and as smooth as possible, so just having those discussions on preparing our systems, if our system will allow that, obviously trying to make sure that there’s not going to be any penalties or interest if we do extend those deadlines."
Carella says the Dept. of Revenue does not have a timeline for making a decision.