Updated July 30 at 2:30pm

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GOVERNMENT

Refunds rise for early tax returns

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PROVIDENCE – The average income tax refund amount for Rhode Islanders who already have filed during the 2013 tax season is up 3.8 percent from 2012, R.I. Tax Administrator David M. Sullivan said Friday.

The average refund for Rhode Island taxpayer rose to $541 so far this filing season, from an average $521 during the 2012 filing season.

Figures also showed that the total number of refunds so far is 11 percent less compared than it was during the corresponding period last year. The R.I. Department of Taxation attributed the drop to a late start in the federal and state filing seasons due to last-minute changes to tax law made in Washington.

“The number of refunds issued, and the aggregate amount of refunds issued, are down so far because of the delay to the start of the filing season,” Sullivan said in a statement. “The delay was a consequence of the lengthy ‘fiscal cliff’ debate and the compromise federal tax law that was enacted in January, which also impacted Rhode Island.”

Sullivan added that the last-minute changes required “extensive computer programming” and the federal delays caused temporary hold-ups for many states. “Nobody is surprised by the delay, which was well-publicized. But now that all systems are go, we fully expect to see our number of refunds – and our aggregate dollar amount of refunds issued – to increase smartly in the weeks ahead,” Sullivan said

The tax return status update also said that e-filing is, by far, the most popular way to file for personal income tax in Rhode Island. For the tax-filing season up until March 6, 96 percent of taxpayers have e-filed, up from 91 percent in 2011.

“It’s early in the season, and nearly all returns filed at this time of year are e-filed,” said Rhode Island Tax Administrator David M. Sullivan. “The more taxpayers learn about e-filing, the more they like it,” Sullivan said.

rhode island, fiscal cliff, david m. sillivan, taxes, r.i. division of taxation

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