Expect delays in receiving income tax refunds

January 13, 2016

NEW YORK (1/13/16)--Greater efforts by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to prevent theft of income tax refunds likely will slow down the process for taxpayers this year.

The IRS, state tax agencies and tax preparation companies are gearing up to thwart refund fraud by using more data points to verify identification, requiring stronger passwords, widening the window of returning refunds and mailing more paper checks, according to a Bloomberg report (Jan. 7)

One of the best consumer defenses against refund fraud is to file as early as possible--starting Jan. 19--in order to beat potential thieves who take advantage of consumers’ procrastination, Bloomberg noted.

Illinois announced last week that it will delay tax refunds to have more time to verify tax returns, pushing refunds to March 1 (Chicago Tribune Jan. 7).

"The day is gone when a state would try to guarantee that a tax return that had no immediate problems on it would generate a refund in three days," said Verenda Smith, deputy director of the Federation of Tax Administrators, an organization that represents states’ tax and revenue departments.

In November, the IRS, state tax administrators and the private-sector tax industry announced the “Taxes. Security. Together.” campaign to encourage more people to protect their personal and financial data online and at home.