'Show me the money': Thousands of Missourians still waiting for their 2018 tax refunds

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — About 4,700 Missourians are still waiting on their 2018 state tax refunds, the Missouri Department of Revenue confirmed Friday.

A spokesperson didn’t respond to requests for an explanation for the delay, but it appears in some cases Missouri just didn’t have the money.

Cheryl Cash, owner of Cash Tax and Accounting, said she’s received many calls from customers in the Show Me State saying “show me the money.”

“We’ve gotten a lot of phone calls from clients saying, ‘Hey, where’s my refund? I haven’t got my money back from Missouri,'” Cash said.

In August, the state said 9,200 Missourians were still waiting on $9 million owed to them. That number is now 4,700.

Jake Ristau is one of them, even though he said he filed his taxes the moment he could last January. At first he was told his refund was processing,

“I kind of kept waiting, and it was June, and I checked it again. Something is going on,” Ristau said.

He was told he needed to send in additional paperwork since he’s self-employed. He’d log onto the Missouri website for tracking his refund a few weeks later and saw it was processing again.

Finally he’d call on the final day of 2019 to see where that refund was.

“When you call somebody and they are like, ‘We are locating the funds to pay you,’ it kind of would make anyone nervous,” Ristau said.

In January 2019, Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway looked at refund delays and found the state collects more than $7 billion in tax receipts and ends up refunding about $1 billion annually.

In the audit, the Missouri Department of Revenue cites several reason for delays, including amended returns filed by taxpayers and submission errors by taxpayers.

However, the first reason listed for delays was a lack of cash allocated by to the Department of Revenue by the Office of Administration for issuing refunds.

“The state’s not collecting enough money for what they need going out, and that is causing a lot of grief,” Cash said.

Cash said this is the slowest she can remember Missouri being in issuing refunds in some time. She feels for people like Ristau, who got married last year and planned to use his refund of approximately $2,000 to pay for the wedding or honeymoon.

“It’s my money. I would like it,” Ristau said. “I work for it. I’m sure there’s people out there that need it way more than I do, and they are just sitting waiting it for as well.”

There’s nothing in Missouri law that says the state has to refund taxes in the order they are filed.

Cash advises clients to check exemptions and estimated tax payments for accuracy so at the end of the year you don’t end up having to pay extra taxes, but you also aren’t left waiting months — or in this case perhaps years, on a refund.

For refund status phone support, you can dial 1-573-751-3505.

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