Major Disagreement: It’s Governor Vs. State Treasurer on Why Your Tax Refunds Came Late This Year

Tax form (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa–The state was low on money. No, it wasn’t. Those are the two, far different explanations, Iowa’s new governor and longtime state treasurer have given about why tax returns came weeks later this year.

The Des Moines Register reported Saturday that State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, a Democrat, said the state would have been unable to pay out Iowans’ tax refunds this year because of sagging revenues. 

Despite what those figures show in the data the Register compiled, Governor Kim Reynolds told Channel 13 Monday that it is actually enhanced state efforts to identify potential fraud in tax filings that delayed refunds this year.

Reynolds acknowledged, though, that this year is different from the past when it comes to tax refunds. “No, that’s not been the case in previous years…that’s right,” Reynolds said, “We purposely determined that to address the fraud, we needed to slow down and be more mindful and make sure fraud is not taking place.”

When asked if it is not accurate to say refunds had to be delayed because the state lacked the money to pay them, the governor responded, “No. We still have money in reserves.”

State leaders have until September 30th to determine whether revenues will cover the expenses of the current fiscal year that ends June 30th. If there is a gap of $50 million or less, the governor can shift money from emergency reserves. If that gap is larger than that, she will need to call lawmakers back into special session to transfer the money.

Either way, that further strains budgetary decisions next year.