FOX 8 Defenders follow-up: Nearly 12,000 La. taxpayers remain 'under review'
Published: Sep. 10, 2015 at 5:24 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 10, 2015 at 9:25 PM CDT
Over the summer, we introduced you to Steve Drury of Ponchatoula; Randy Schexnayder, who lives in Loranger; and Mandeville homeowner Rene Michel, who's also a FOX 8 employee. All of the men live on the north shore, and all shared the same concern.
"I got a letter, one letter. They told me I was under review," Drury said.
Since January, the Louisiana Department of Revenue says it has issued more than 56,000 letters to taxpayers, saying their accounts are "under review." More than 44,000 have been processed. That leaves nearly 12,000 Louisiana taxpayers still waiting for their tax returns.
Drury, Schexnayder and Michel also invested thousands of dollars in solar panel systems to make their homes more energy efficient, expecting state tax credits, eventually would cover up to 50 percent of the cost.
Of the outstanding accounts under review, the LDR says 60 accounts related to solar tax credits are under review. Another 254 accounts related to those credits have been reviewed, and the department says it's waiting on additional taxpayer documents to finish processing.
Drury is in that number. He said after months of trying to reach anyone at LDR, he finally talked to a state tax analyst last week and re-submitted all of his tax documents. Still, the months-long wait has been stressful because Drury financed his solar panel system.
"Now I gotta get it from the state so I can go ahead and pay my loan off because after a certain amount of time they gonna start charging us interest on the loan," he said.
Schexnayder got his state refund. So did Michel.
"Oh I'm so relieved that it's over," Michel said. He explained the hold on his return and the mixed messages he was getting from the state all summer put him on an emotional roller coaster. One day he was told he was approved. Then, he got this in the mail, a letter from the state saying that his refund had been "denied or reduced" because it said he didn't provide certain documentation. Michel and his CPA say they sent over all documents more than once.
"I had tuition payments to make. I had all kinds of stuff coming up that I was in a crunch, and I was really miserable that whole night. I lost a lot of sleep. I was having nightmares about paying bills," Michel said.
He grew even more frustrated because he got a second denial letter. "And it's from the lady who said that I got approved," Michel said. The next day his entire return showed up as deposited in his bank account. Finally, he received a letter with the correct information from the state, saying his return had been satisfied. It came as a big relief after many sleepless nights and headaches for months.
LDR told FOX 8 that tax credits aren't the only reason a return could get a closer look. Other concerns include suspected fraud and taxpayer errors, and returns are delayed because they go through a manual review. We'll continue to follow this situation and bring you updates.
If you have a consumer complaint, call the FOX 8 Defenders at 1-877-670-6397, fill out our online complaint form or email us at email@example.com.
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