Regulators Warn Of Identify Theft And Fraud As The 2016 Tax Season Approaches

More and more taxpayers are turning to online filing services, because it offers so much convenience. As the tax season approaches, criminals are also gearing up to find new ways to scam taxpayers. Many scammers rely on malware and phishing incidents to obtain personal data from unexpected people. Regulators are trying to combat tax fraud, by slowing down the filing processes.U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, Rod J. Rosenstein, the quicker refunds are issued, the greater the risk of fraud. Most Maryland taxpayers that rely on online filing services expect an expedient refund within two business days. The 2016 tax season opened today and regulators expect to get refunds process as quickly as possible, while making sure the refund gets into the right hands.

The director of operations for the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, Glenn Groff, said during a panel discussion last week that Washington, D.C. residents should expect to wait at least two weeks for their refunds. In the past, refunds were issued in a matter of days. While some refunds will be delayed, most will be sent within 21 days.

According to the National Association of Enrolled Agents, returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit will not be released until February 15. The delay is required under the 2015 Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act and is intended to combat tax fraud.

Sophisticated analytics technology is utilized by the state to detect suspicious patterns in tax filings. According to the comptroller’s office, over $174 million in fraudulent tax refunds has been blocked since 2007.

Maryland employers are required by law to report employee wage information to the comptroller no later than January 31. No state tax returns will be filed until the individual’s W-2 is on file, which is a new step to prevent fraud. Early filers could experience a delay in getting their tax refund.

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