It’s Tax Day and many people are hoping for tax refunds.  But will they save it or spend it?   The waiting room was full on Friday at the taxpayer assistance center at Northgate Mall in Durham. Tradell Adkins was there.

“Every year I try to say I’ll get it done around January, February, at the latest March.  But it always ends up being in April," says Adkins.

North Carolina House of Representatives, North Carolina General Assembly

State lawmakers have tentatively approved a measure that would end a popular tax credit for low and middle-income residents.  House legislators passed the bill 75 to 41 yesterday.

It would allow the state's earned income tax credit to expire after this year as scheduled. Most low and middle-income families who qualify don't receive the maximum rebate of $294. But it's a popular policy, especially among families whose meager paychecks make it a struggle to save money.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is piloting a new tax preparation initiative in three US cities - and Durham is one of them. The new initiative is called “Ready, Set, Save.”  And it’s targeted to households who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit – primarily moderate to low income households with children. Tiki Windley is a Program Manager at MDC in Durham.

A battle over changing the tax code is looming in Raleigh. Some Republicans want to eliminate personal and corporate income tax. Democrats and a key member of Governor McCrory's staff call the proposal a regressive tax on the middle class and poor.

Host Frank Stasio talks taxes and other stories with Chris Fitzsimon of North Carolina Policy Watch; and Mitch Kokai with the John Locke Foundation.

Dare County brought in a record amount of occupancy taxes in 2012 while a record number of sea turtles nested on Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  Numbers from the Outer Banks Visitors' Bureau show Dare County collected $382 million in occupancy taxes through November of 2012 compared to $367 million during the same period the year before.  The county levies the tax on hotels, motels and beach houses.  At the same time, park rangers reported a record 222 sea turtle nests in 2012. 

Orange County Commissioners have given final approval to levy a half-cent sales tax for transit projects starting this Spring. Commissioners decided this week to collect the tax beginning on April 1. Voters in Orange County approved the tax on a ballot referendum in November. Durham residents did the same last year and will start paying the tax at the same time. Revenue goes toward a $1.4 billion plan from Triangle Transit Authority to expand bus services and build a light rail line from UNC Hospitals to downtown Durham.

North Carolina’s two US Senators agree eliminating tax loopholes should be part of the equation as congress works to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. Congress has to decide whether tax cuts should be extended for any Americans and if automatic cuts to federal government should be partially or completely stopped. Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan supports reduced spending and changes to the tax code.

Orange County voters will decide whether to support a tax increase for public transportation on Election Day. The measure is part of a regional plan to improve transit across the Triangle.

Voters in Orange County will choose whether to vote for a half-cent sales tax increase on November sixth. If they approve the measure, the tax would generate about five million dollars a year for new buses and improved service, an Amtrak station in Hillsborough and a proposed light rail connection from UNC to downtown Durham.

A new report from the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center says it’s time for the state to collect a more reliable revenue source than the sales tax.

The sales tax is 30-percent of North Carolina’s total tax revenue – that’s about six billion dollars.  But – the non-profit Budget and Tax Center says the state needs to broaden its tax structure.  Alexandra Sirota is director of the Budget and Tax Center. She says it’s time to tax services to help raise revenue instead of counting so heavily on material goods.

With Congress back in session U.S. Senator Kay Hagan is touting a bill she says will help small businesses. Jeff Tiberii reports.

Jeff Tiberii: The Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act of 2012 is expected to come up for a vote this week. Hagan says the legislation has bipartisan support and will accomplish two things.

Kay Hagan: The first is an income tax credit on new payroll. And this is either through hiring new people or increasing current wages and there will be a 10-percent income tax credit to the small businesses.