Daily Briefs

More than $1.9B in  state income tax refunds issued

More than 3.3 million state income tax refunds were processed for the 2018 tax year that provided taxpayers with over $1.9 billion, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

As of mid-June, the average taxpayer refund was $571, up from last year’s $552 average. To date, more than 4.8 million returns have been processed by the state Treasury Department, with 91% reviewed and finalized within two weeks of receipt.

The remaining 9% required additional review and were processed within two to six weeks.

“Refunds are important to Michigan taxpayers,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “Our team worked diligently during peak filing times to ensure refunds were issued promptly and calls for assistance were answered. I am proud of our team and look forward to continuing to identify ways to serve taxpayers better for next year.”

A decrease in filed tax returns over the past five years is due to the state Treasury Department processing returns in the year they are received. Few tax returns are being carried over into the following year.

Taxpayer calls to the Individual Income Tax Information Line were answered within 2 minutes 15 seconds, down from 5 minutes 6 seconds in 2015.

The state Treasury Department estimates more than 500,000 taxpayers—10%—have still not filed state income tax returns for the 2018 tax year. Taxpayers have four years to file a return and claim an outstanding refund.

Those who have not filed and owe taxes should file immediately to avoid further penalties and interest. The state Treasury Department can work with individuals to design a payment plan if needed.

To learn more about Michigan’s Individual Income Tax, go to www.michigan.gov/incometax or follow the state Treasury Department on Twitter at @MITreasury.


Michigan’s elderly support services buckle as residents age

DETROIT (AP) — Aging care experts are warning that Michigan’s safety net services for elderly populations are becoming strained as more residents live longer.

Michigan’s overall population has a median age of nearly 40 years, a number that increased by 0.9 years between 2010 and 2018, according to The Detroit News’ analysis of recently released U.S. Census Bureau data. It’s slightly less than the increase in the median age of the U.S. population over the same period.

In 21 of the state’s counties, the median age of residents is over 50 years.

Heidi Gustine, executive director of Area Agency on Aging of Northwestern Michigan, cautions that the state is “about to hit a tipping point,” as more baby boomers reach retirement age.

Gustine said safety net systems are already buckling as demand for home health care increases with fewer workers to fill the jobs.

“Lack of working-age people is setting the speed limit on our employment and economic growth,” said Xuan Liu, research manager for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments.

The council anticipates that Michigan’s 65-and-older population will continue to grow over the next 15 years.