Alabama State Refund Delay 2012 – I’m Waiting Even Though I Moved Out of State!

by Kevin on May 5, 2012


If you’ve been following No Debt Plan for several years you’ll notice that several years in a row I wrote about the state of Alabama’s inability to pay my state tax refund to me in a normal amount of time. My tax return would be accepted and processed, but my refund would not be paid for what felt like a┬ámillennia.

Last year (well, technically, the last day of 2010) I moved out of the state of Alabama and into a glorious state with no state income tax: Tennessee.

My wife and I celebrated. Not only could we wear orange without fear of having our tires slashed or being randomly punched in the face, but we were finally free from the grasp of the state income tax delays.

Oh, how wrong we were. We could wear orange and enjoy a 5% raise (from not paying that income tax rate from Alabama), but we once again find ourselves ensnared in the incredibly slow grasp of Alabama’s Department of Revenue.


One Paycheck in Your Old State

My wife and I moved on December 30, 2010. You’d think all of our paychecks and all of that would have been fine leading up to that, but both of our employers paid us a paycheck from December 2010 in January 2011. Those checks, even though we were now in Tennessee, withheld normal Alabama state income tax. We were getting paid for the previous year’s (or week’s) work in the next year.

This happens every year at every employer; it’s normal. The only difference for us is we weren’t going to have any more income in Alabama throughout 2011.

All Taxes Paid to Be Refunded… Eventually

When you have a little bit of income plus some income tax withheld, but then you move and have no other income in that state, all of that income tax will be refunded to you. This is due to the allowances of income that states have (and just like the Federal government’s allowance that lowers your tax bill).

At the end of the day we paid $338 in income tax for two different paychecks. We didn’t earn another dime in Alabama — all of our income was being earned in Tennessee and we didn’t owe state tax on it. But that still meant we had to wait until the end of the year to file a tax return with Alabama in order to get our money back.

Alabama State Tax Refund Delay

We filled out Alabama’s 1040-NR. The NR stands for non-resident. Instead of the convenient online tax returns we had been submitting to the Federal government and Alabama during our time there, the 1040-NR cannot be processed electronically. I have no idea why, but part of me thinks it is to punish you for ever leaving the state.

No, our return had to be processed by hand.


I’ve been checking on the “Where’s My Refund?” website that Alabama’s Department of Revenue has, and I keep getting the same message:

Your tax return is being processed.

Oh really? Thanks, I hadn’t figured that out the last 5 years as you withheld my refund for me for weeks and months.

So I’m right back where we’ve been the last several years: I sent my return in on time, but there’s no telling when I’ll get it back. I’m not desperate for the cash (we knew this would happen and planned accordingly), but it is still incredibly frustrating to know my money is sitting in the state’s coffers while they figure out how to process my return. We’re crossing our fingers they don’t tell us there’s something wrong that needs to be re-submitted.

What about you? How long have you been waiting for your Alabama income tax refund?


bob May 14, 2012 at 8:17 am

I also moved out of Alabama had to file the NR form, I mailed my refund on April 2nd and it is still being processed

jazzy June 7, 2012 at 7:59 am

I have not moved out of state but still have not gotten my state refund back yet either and it been about 16 weeks still get the same message that it is being processed. How long does it take to process a tax return. This is the 3 year that it has taken a long time to get my refund form the State of Alabama. What are they doing with the money i paid in? They should plan for this because they know that the people will most likly get back what they paid in. da da da

BamaGirl June 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Ok it will be exactly 12 weeks on Monday, June 25th and my message now states that my return has been approved for payment. And, to wait patiently because they are doing everything possible to expedite my refund’s issuance. That has been the same message for the past 3 weeks. My husband files a NR every year because he is in the military and his home of record is Alabama. We live in SC and I filed my SC state return by mail on same day I sent the Alabama return and I had the check in hand and “no” not via direct deposit within two weeks.

chitowngal June 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I feel your pain. We filed an in-state form (by hand) becaise if you don’t file electronically for your federal form, you can’t file electronically for the State of Alabama (at least that is what their website says). Having moved from Illinois to Alabama in 2010, I must say that this state is the SLOWEST and most far behind in technology. We were that it will take 15 weeks to get a return, but just like you I KNOW that closer to that date they will say that something is wrong and the timeline willl start all over again. They need to outsource this task to states that know what they are doing.

icamay July 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm

These people are really starting to anger me. I filed my non-resident return in order to claim a refund, as my husband is military and my employer was deeply confused when I asked for a non-AL withholding form (another irritation for another rant). I researched their instructions very carefully, and sent everything that they published as requirements to file under the Military Spouse Relief Act. I have now received three letters requesting addtional information, I guess to “prove” that he was military, in addtion to his federal W-2 from the DFAS. And I cannot reach anyone to give me straight, explicit instruction on absolutely everything I need to give them (orders? LES? DNA?) to get this paperwork in by their July 11 deadline. I am livid – at this point, we are merely playing a game to avoid paying my measely $600 back! Such a crooked state. Nice to see the patriotism ooze from Montgomery.

Good thing the people are nice and the BBQ is good.

drakek40 July 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Well we efiled our state return on Feb 3 2012, and still havent heard a word other then it is being processed.Does it really take 5 mos to process a tax return? I truly believe that the state of ALA holds on to the money just to get the interest or the are trying to figure a way to cheat a person out of their refund.

Megin September 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I’ve been waiting 32 weeks and still is saying processing! Does anyone have a number where I can get a live person! In 2004
Was the last time I did not have to pay and i never received that. this time it is a pretty large sum for state and I will not let them not pay me again. Considering they want their money from me every year. This is crazy

LT July 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Filed my non-resident return 3/14. Here we are end of July and nothing. Per their constitution they must pay interest after I believe 7/17. I am dying to see what the rate will be. I wish I could charge them a late fee or financing charge on my free loan just as the credit card companies do!!

CG September 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm

My husband and I filed a joint return in March, 2012 and today is September 11, 2012 and we have not received our refund. I have even called the comptrollers office and a person there says that they just don’t have the money to pay…but they took it out of my paycheck and is continuing to take state taxes out of my paycheck….They say that they will pay interest, but could not tell me the percentage…. I guess I will have to put a lien on the State’s Property…..So sad….

JH September 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm

CG, We are in the same boat. I haven’t called but I check the website periodically and it never changes from “8 to 12 weeks.”

MH October 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Run around this year just like last year. In 2011, we filed our 2010 Alabama taxes in accordance with rules of the Military Spouse Relief Act. In June 2011, we received a letter stating that the active duty LES needed to be sent in order to process claim and that it had not been included in the original paperwork submittal. I think the deadline for us to return the information was Aug 1, 2011. We knew this was a ruse as we had a copy of the entire package the was sent. We figured this was a way to keep our taxes longer. The letter stated that once the information was received, it could take 12 weeks to process. Sure enough, in the 12th week (end of October 2011) we received our refund!
Fast forward to filing taxes for 2011. Same story different state excuse. We followed the same filing mechinism for Military Spouse Relief Act. We received a similiar letter from 2011 in late June 2012 stating that more information was needed to process the return. Only this year, the state of Alabama requested that they need a copy of our federal return. Again, a ruse by the state as all of that information was provided in the original filing. So, we had until Aug 1, 2012 to comply with providing the information or risk losing the return. Of course, we played the game and provided the information again. Now, I am in week 10 of 12 and called to check on the refund and it is in “processing” Let me guess, we will receive our refund in the 12th week. I wonder what the state excuse will be in 2013. Same pattern by the state just different excuse. Any way to keep the military familiy’s money as long as possible and make it difficult on the family!

CG October 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Finally got Alabama state tax return in October….Filed in February! We received $1855.00 back, with $4.27 of interest for a total of 1859.27 for waiting 9 months!!! Now that is a joke!!!! So sad…..

Leona Harkins January 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm

My husband and I filed first week of Feb 2012,here it is
Jan 23rd,2013 and we are still waiting for our refund. It is so frustrating so glad that we moved out of Alabama last year!

JoeInVolga February 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Well Crap,

Here we are in 2013 and no Kevin blog to complain about the Alabama Tax refund delays?

You should be a good fella and start a 2013 thread anyway…

Kevin February 18, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I should do that, but haven’t because thankfully I no longer live in the retched state. I now live in a state without income tax — hooray! (For the record I actually didn’t mind Alabama, but their tax department… needs work.)

Anna April 6, 2016 at 7:39 pm

Is anyone still having this problem? We had to file by mail this year and last year, and I still haven’t received my tax return from LAST year. This year I am not optimistic I’ll ever see it, which is really annoying because it’s more than last year.

Is it normal for this to take longer than a year to get your refund?

Comments on this entry are closed.