- The state of Louisiana is reportedly trying to recoup $26 million it accidentally distributed in tax refunds last week.
- After a computer error caused around 66,000 people to receive double refund payments, state officials reportedly said the system was fixed and banks were working with the tax agency to return the money.
- The accidental payments come at the tail-end of a rocky few weeks for American taxpayers, as refunds took an initial dive early in the filing season before leveling out above last year’s rates.
Taxpayers in Louisiana could be joining the many Americans who are unhappy about smaller tax refunds this year.
The state of Lousiana is trying to recoup tax refunds that were accidentally paid twice to 66,000 people last week, Baton Rouge’s WAFB-TV reported.
On Wednesday, March 13, a computer error reportedly caused the system to distribute double refund payments that amounted to approximately $26 million.
Jacques Berry, a spokesman for the state’s Division of Administration, told NOLA.com that the problem was fixed by Thursday, and the state is continuing to work on recovering the money.
Most of the money was distributed through direct deposit and are easily recoverable, Barry said. WAFB reported the spokesman urged those who received a higher refund than they should have to not spend the money.
Americans have seen a rocky tax season so far, as new tax policies and the government shutdown sent ripple effects through the first weeks of the filing season.
In the beginning of this year’s filing season, the average federal tax refund amount was down 8.7% to $1,949, from the same time last year, according to IRS data for the second week of this year’s filing season. The total number of refunds issued also dropped by more than 15%.
Weeks later, the average tax refund had increased by 1.3 percent over last year’s to $3,143.
Experts have warned against taxpayers depending on large tax refunds because they could mean you paid too much in taxes. Over the year, you had too much income tax taken out of each paycheck, and now the IRS is returning what is rightfully yours.
This means that instead of keeping your money in a savings or retirement account where it could earn interest all year, you essentially gave an interest-free loan to the government, Business Insider previously reported.
Further, receiving a smaller refund or owing money to the IRS doesn’t necessarily mean you had a higher tax bill than before the new tax law, Business Insider’s Bob Bryan explained. Middle-class Americans, on average, saw their taxes go down for the 2018 tax year.
Read more of our Tax Day 2019 coverage: