Local businesses await tax returns

Published 12:02 am Friday, February 15, 2013

Residents aren’t the only ones still waiting for their income tax refund checks – so are area retailers.

In January, the Internal Revenue Service announced it would begin accepting 2012 tax filings on Jan 30, eight days later than originally planned. That meant that millions of early-filing taxpayers would have to wait until February at the earliest for a refund.

“And I can absolutely tell the difference in business,” said Joanne Calloway, manager of the Andalusia Ashley Furniture Home Store. Furniture stores and car dealerships are two of the many retailers expect to see big revenue in the first weeks of February as people spend their income tax refunds.

“Usually we have a lot of revenue to walk through the doors by now,” Calloway said. “With everyone having to wait to file and wait to get their checks, we’re having to wait, too. Everyone is just now starting to get their refunds, so I expect the next few weeks’ sales to be much better.”

Automotive dealerships such as Jackson Used Cars, Massey Automotive, Andalusia Ford and JM Jackson in Opp

Jenny Odom, who is in her fourth season as a salesperson at Andalusia Ford, said dealership has had a lot of browsers.

“They’re shopping, but most are saying they are waiting for their refund check or that they haven’t had their taxes done yet,” Odom said. “But, they say they’re coming back.”

At JM Jackson, it’s the same.

“We’ve not seen the run I expected in February so far, and I know it’s because of the fiscal cliff situation,” said Stephanie Seay, Internet sales manager. “It has reduced business a bit, but I think it will pick up at end of February and the beginning of March.”

The filing delay stemmed from the Jan. 2 enactment of tax law changes made to resolve the “fiscal cliff,” the package of automatic tax increases and federal spending cuts scheduled to start in the new year until averted by last-minute legislation.

The IRS could not write certain tax forms and tables without knowing how the law might reshape the U.S. tax code.

About 18 million taxpayers usually file tax returns in January, and 98 percent of them receive a refund, said tax preparation company H&R Block Inc., citing IRS data. These taxpayers often include low-income individuals who file returns early to get refundable tax credits.