DES MOINES — The Iowa Department of Revenue began accepting state tax returns Monday.
John Fuller, public information officer for the state tax agency, says they aren’t usually swamped with returns at this stage, unless someone is expecting a big refund. “We probably don’t get a lot early in the process,” Fuller says. “It’s probably beneficial for people to file sooner rather than later. With me, I’m always searching for one document or making sure I haven’t misplaced my W-2, but there’s a lot of early filers in Iowa, too.”
Iowans were very vocal in their complaints in recent years as refund checks were taking longer than usual to process due to increased security measures. “Our goal this year is to process returns in 30 days,” Fuller says, “and if we hit the 45-day mark, we’ll kick in some overtime on that.”
The state revenue department has redesigned its website to better serve taxpayers. It’s at tax.iowa.gov. Fuller says the site is a good starting point to find tax guidance, new tax forms, and answers to all kinds of tax questions. There’s information on how to file, tips to avoid common mistakes, and details on how to check the status of a refund. In addition, there’s a toll-free hotline: 800-367-3388.
“We’ve enhanced our technology on our phone system which has been a frustrating experience when people have to wait too long,” Fuller says. “There’s a little more automation. We’ve also extended the time period when they can call. There’ll be people here answering the phones until 6 o’clock Monday through Thursday.”
Friday hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Fuller says they’ve also extended the front desk hours to help walk-in customers and he offers this advice. “Begin to get those documents together so you can file as early as you can,” Fuller says. “When you think you’re done, just run through the return one more time and double check. Make sure your Social Security number is on there and that you’ve signed the form in the right place. That’ll make sure things go more smoothly on our end.”
Iowa taxpayers are required to provide their federal return with their Iowa return and Iowa returns are due April 30th.