Taxpayers in North Carolina will have to wait longer to get their state income tax refunds. The state says it needs to keep the money as long as it can.
North Carolina's Department of Revenue says tax refunds will be slow coming again this year.
Last year Clyde Overton waited three months to get his refund. He depended on the money to pay his bills.
"They don't consider that the bill collectors don't. They charge me a late fee because I don't pay it. And if it's lights or water or something of that type then if I don't get money from somewhere, borrow it, then they come out and turn it off," Overton said.
The North Carolina Department of Revenue tells NewsChannel 3 it simply does not have the money.
"We are managing the distribution of refunds much like a family would manage their own checking account in that as we write checks to pay the different bills and to provide tax refunds, we want to make sure that when we write those checks that the money is in the account to cover them," said Thomas Beam, spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
State officials say fewer people are working and paying income taxes is to blame.
During fiscal year 2009 the state collected $16.8 billion in taxes, which was the lowest total in four years.
"This is a situation where we are having to manage our distributions on a week to week basis and we are in fact writing refund checks every week and everyone that's due a refund will in fact receive a refund," Beam added.
Most individuals like taxpayers Tricena Barker and Clyde Overton say they depend on their refunds arriving on time.
"Due to the lateness of the tax returns I had to wait for my bills to be paid," Barker said.
"They charged me a late fee because I don't pay it," added Overton.
This year the North Carolina Department of Revenue has added a section to its website where people can check the status of their refund, but officials tell NewsChannel 3 that it still can't offer a time frame when people will actually receive their checks.
I think this is pathetic andthe state of North Carolina certainly can't expect the working people to be patient when it comes to receiving their tax refund. It just seems no matter how hard the working people of America try they can't seem to get a break.