State bolsters tax security; refund delays possible

The Ohio Department of Taxation is bolstering defenses to thwart tax fraud for the upcoming income tax filing season, however the security measures may delay refunds.

Last year, ODT intercepted an unprecedented number of fraudulent income tax returns seeking to steal refunds totaling more than $250 million. In previous years, attempted tax fraud averaged about $10 million, according to a news release from Ohio Tax Commissioner Joe Testa.

To detect and counter refund fraud related to ID theft, an additional up-front filter will now be applied to all tax refund requests to analyze the demographic information reported on a return. This analysis will then assign a “probability of fraud” factor that will determine how the return is then further processed by ODT.

If a return is pulled for review, ODT’s additional security measures will require some taxpayers to complete an “Identification Confirmation Quiz” before the return will continue to be processed.

If a taxpayer’s return is selected for identity confirmation he or she will receive a letter from ODT directing them to the website (www.tax.ohio.gov http://www.tax.ohio.gov). The website will provide access to the quiz, detailed instructions on how to complete it, and frequently asked questions for reference. Taxpayers without Internet access will be directed to call ODT at 1-855-855-7579 for assistance, according to the release.

The additional screening and security measures will unfortunately slow the processing of electronic and paper returns, and the issuance of refunds. Electronic returns requesting a refund may take up to 15 days to be direct deposited this year, and paper returns could take up to 30 days for a physical check to be mailed out.