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Form 1040 US Individual Income Tax Return (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

PA

If you’re ready to file your North Carolina state income taxes, you’ll have to wait a little longer.

The state has already delayed the date it is able to process tax returns until mid-February. Now it has been pushed back to the last day of the month.

Tax season is starting late in North Carolina, as the state budget was nearly five months late and included tax changes that impact this year’s returns.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue announced this week that its new target date to begin processing returns is Monday, February 28. The department encourages taxpayers to file electronically.

Taxpayers can expect to start receiving tax refunds in early April, according to the state agency.

The state is still testing and approving system updates for tax preparation software for businesses and individuals. You can check the status of updates at ncdor.gov.

Jason Poole, a certified public accountant with TRP Sumner PLLC in Dunn and Fayetteville, told The News & Observer earlier this month that tax returns were piling up because the state was not ready to process them . But don’t delay in starting to prepare them, he says, even if you can’t put them down yet.

“If everyone is waiting, it really sets us back,” he said.

As the state budget delay means a gridlock on tax returns, individual taxpayers can already see their personal income tax rate reduced – from 5.25% to 4.99% – reflected in their payroll deductions.

For more on North Carolina government and politics, listen to the Under the Dome political podcast from The News & Observer and NC Insider. You can find it at link.chtbl.com/underthedomenc or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan covers North Carolina state government and politics at The News & Observer. She previously covered Durham and received the President’s McClatchy Award as well as several awards from the North Carolina Press Association, including for her investigative reporting.