Last updated: March 19. 2013 11:53PM - 2873 Views

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Berkheimer & Associates expects within a few weeks to begin sending out 2011 earned income tax refunds to taxpayers who filed returns with the Centax-Don Wilkinson agency and hopes the process will be completed by this summer, a company official said Tuesday.

John Deremer, a vice president with Berkheimer, said the firm has been working on processing returns since around November. The process has been time-consuming as the company first had to obtain, then enter, information from Centax.

The data entry is almost complete, Deremer said. Berkheimer now needs to audit each of the returns to ensure the amount being requested by taxpayers matches with records that show how much they paid in — something Centax did not do, he said.

“There are literally hundreds of thousands of returns that need to be audited,” Deremer said.

The first set of checks should be mailed out within two to three weeks, he said. Berkheimer hopes to complete the process by June or July.

The delay in processing the refunds has frustrated Monica Toluba of Hanover Township, who says she’s owed more than $700.

She has called numerous offices trying to get information on when she might get her money, said Toluba, but no one could provide her an answer.

“It’s over a year now,” she said. “It’s 700-some dollars, not like 5 bucks I don’t care about.”

Toluba became more concerned after reading an article in Tuesday’s edition of The Times Leader that detailed how some people owed money for returns for tax years prior to 2011 might not get refunds.

The receiver appointed to distribute Centax funds has asked a judge to approve a plan that would allow it to forgo efforts to locate thousands of people who are owed more than $347,000 in refund checks from 2002 to 2010 that were never cashed, saying a lack of information has made it too difficult to try to reconcile the accounts. The receiver has instead suggested depositing that money into Centax’s general fund to pay creditors who are owed money by the defunct firm.

The receiver’s recommendation will not impact 2011 returns, which were processed by Berkheimer.

Prior to ceasing operations, Centax had sent out some refund checks that were not honored. Berkheimer will be re-issuing checks to those individuals, but Deremer cautioned that not everyone who got a check previously will get one this time, as it was discovered Centax erroneously sent checks to some people who were not entitled to a refund.

“It comes down to the audit,” he said. “When we audit their return and if they are due a refund, we will send out a new check.”

Toluba is just glad to see some progress being made, she said.

“I’ve been waiting this long, I can wait a little longer,” she said. “I just want to make sure I get it.”

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