Business/In Brief – Aug. 6, 2014

HONOLULU – Taxpayers who paid double their balances because of a mistaken notice will automatically receive refunds in the next two to three weeks, Hawaii tax officials said.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser said Monday that the Tax Department says taxpayers will automatically be paid by check without needing to do anything further.

Officials say the confusion came because letters were sent to taxpayers who mailed paper checks close to an April 20 deadline.

Arikka Johnson, a resident hall director at Chaminade University, said she assumed she had made an error when she paid her balance twice.

“I just assumed since they were the state Tax Department that they were in the right,” she said. “That was my biggest mistake.”

Tax Department spokeswoman Mallory Fujitani said the agency is assessing how many incorrect bills were sent.

The agency has recently struggled with its $87.5 million computer system, which was modernized by the same contractor that built Hawaii’s troubled health insurance exchange. The department is preparing to spend another $32 million for a new system.

State legislators approved $3 million for upgrades in fiscal 2015.

“This type of project requires significant preparation and there are (tax office) employees who are working full time on assessing the department’s current operations,” Fujitani said.