New York State has paid out more than $4 billion in personal income tax refunds so far this year, with the average refund totaling $846, officials said.
The refunds were sent to 4.7 million filers.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Monday that another 275,000 refunds totaling $282 million would be paid in the next couple of weeks. About 7 million refunds are sent every year.
April 18 is the deadline for filing personal income tax returns.
Tax Department spokesman Geoffrey Gloak said delivery of refunds is “twice as fast if you e-file,” which more than 90 percent of taxpayers do. Using direct deposit saves a week.
Gloak also said 98 percent of refunds are paid in less than 30 days. Taxpayers can check the status of their refund and sign up for email notifications at http://on.ny.gov/1RJygLJ.
He said before a refund can be issued, the tax department verifies the taxpayer’s eligibility. It stops roughly $400 million in questionable refunds of personal income taxes from being paid each year, Gloak said Friday.
DiNapoli’s office then audits the work of the tax department, in some instances identifying additional suspicious refunds.
DiNapoli said his auditors had blocked $26 million in fraudulent refunds so far this year. The majority stemmed from tax returns where taxpayers claimed tax credits based on a fake or inflated number of dependents, understated income or provided other false information, he said.
DiNapoli also said his office stopped more than $3.7 million in refunds that were tied to unscrupulous tax preparers who filed false returns containing such things as questionable Social Security numbers and intentionally misstated deductions.