Online glitch has some residents getting two tax refund checks

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - While some folks got one state tax refund check this year, Debra Bird got two.

"I was very surprised...needless to say. I thought maybe I was mistaken the first time. Maybe I didn't deposit the check," says Bird.

She's one of 20 Alabamians who accidentally got a duplicate refund check weeks after the original check arrived--the result of a glitch in the Department of Revenue's online filing system.

"It's just like the other. Same amount, same tax year," says Bird as she describes the second check.

That glitch could have cost the state $19,000 dollars.

"This is the first time it had ever happened," says Revenue Department Secretary, Lewis Easterly.

Easterly says the department's online direct deposit function mal-functioned, deleting any record of the checks being mailed.

"We had gone through a separate manual process to get them refund checks because we thought they were rejected," says Easterly.

But they weren't rejected.  And folks like Bird wound up with double the dough.

So what about the 24,000 filers still without their refund check?

"Haven't received any information back.  Still waiting on something," says Zavair Swain.

"We are sure that they'll all go out before the 15th [of July]," says Easterly.

And Bird says the duplicate check's in the mail.

"It's not my money. So no, it's not hard at all. It'll go back and they need to spend it on what it's supposed to go for."

Bird says when she got the extra check she immediately wondered how many other people got them too.

But department officials say everyone they've talked to is sending the duplicates back.  They've already changed the software so this doesn't happen again.

State officials say many refund checks were sent sooner this year totaling nearly $570 million dollars to taxpayers.

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