Legislature usually spurs an audit, but you can try
: How does the state auditor determine who gets audited? Can a request be submitted to have a state agency/department audited?
Answer: You can ask state Auditor Marion Higa to look into a specific agency or department, but the likelihood that an individual request will be acted on is slim.
However, multiple complaints about a certain agency would likely spur interest.
Sixty percent or more of state audits are generated by the Legislature, in the form of concurrent resolutions, a proviso in a bill or by a separate bill.
An audit is "less likely" to happen based on one complaint, "unless it's a series of individual complaints that could add to whatever we know about a situation," Higa said.
Your best bet may be to contact your legislator, but Higa says you can also pass your concerns on to her office.
"We'll keep it on file in case we get multiple complaints that look credible," and that all might factor into a decision to conduct an audit, she said.
Higa has two audit cycles: From May to January, work is focused on legislative requests, while spring is usually devoted to self-initiated audits and audits scheduled by law. The latter includes audits of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the "sunsetting" of regulatory programs.
In any given year, Higa's staff (now numbering 20) conducts 12 to 15 audits, which usually take five to seven months each to complete.
That does not include financial statement audits, which are contracted out.
Higa's office took over the administration of financial statement audits from the state Department of Accounting and General Services several years ago. It has about $6 million in an audit revolving fund from which to pay for the contracts.
The only financial audits not currently under her jurisdiction are those involving the University of Hawaii system and the Hawaii Health Systems Corp.
Typically, Higa's office receives about 75 audit requests at the start of each legislative session. That's whittled down to about 20. Then, she works with the Senate president and House speaker in prioritizing the requests.
"We have to have a line drawn somewhere about what we can reasonably do," she said. "And even then, it requires some discussion."
Even after the number of requests have been whittled down, some audits have to be contracted out because of the shortage of people able to do the analytical reviews.
Q: I have not yet received Form 1099-G from the state. Has there been a delay in sending them out this year?
A: The forms were sent out on time, said Sandra Yahiro, deputy director of the Department of Taxation.
Call the Customer Call Center at 587-4242 for more information on this and any other problem related to filing your state tax returns.
Form 1099-G is sent to taxpayers who itemized deductions and received state income tax refunds.
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