Ohio residents continue to wait for tax refunds as the state scrambles to get checks in the mail. The Ohio Department of Taxation bought new optical scanners this year with the intention of speeding up tax refund processing, but instead the state is running behind last year in sending out refund checks.
There are still approximately 160,000 tax returns waiting to be processed, according to a tax department spokesman, John Kohlstrand. The refund checks relating to those returns are expected to be mailed during the first week of July.
Kohlstrand blamed the change in technology and a small fire at a tax department processing center in Columbus for the delay. No tax returns were harmed in the fire.
Temporary workers have been hired to help speed up the processing of the final tax returns. The tax department indicated that the cost of processing the returns this year is still less than in previous years, in spite of the need for extra help.
Taxpayers who have not yet received their refunds can call the tax department's refund hotline to check on the status. The number is 1-800-282-1784.
There was another issue with Ohio tax returns earlier this summer when a backup tape containing names and Social Security numbers of 225,000 taxpayers was stolen from the car of an intern. The state has offered to pick up the cost of identity theft protection for these taxpayers. To find out if you are one of the 225,000, you can call the state at 1-800-267-4474 or go to www.ohio.gov/idprotect for more information.