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“Our priority is protecting taxpayers:” States seeing uptick in potentially fake income tax returns being filed

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MADISON (WITI) — Wisconsin Department of Revenue tax officials have safeguards in place to protect your identity and prevent fraudulent income tax refunds. This, as many states are reporting seeing an uptick in potentially fake income tax returns being filed.

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s identity protection program uses confidential criteria to flag possible identity fraud so others do not get your tax refund. If a return gets flagged, the department will ask you to take a short identification quiz or provide documentation to ensure the refund is going to the correct person – and not a hacker.

“Our priority is protecting our taxpayers from fraud. We want to protect your refund and safeguard against stolen taxpayer money going out the door. In an ever changing world, we need to do everything possible to protect our citizens and tax filers,” Secretary Richard Chandler said.

The department also continually monitors suspected fraudulent activity across the nation for any trends or alerts. In collaborating with other tax departments that use a similar ID protection program, Wisconsin learned that a number of states are seeing an uptick recently in 2014 income tax returns that are being flagged for further screening. In addition, more customers are getting a message someone has already filed a 2014 income tax return, but it was not the taxpayer.

Wisconsin’s online e-file and computer systems have not been compromised, but as a precaution, the department will be closely reviewing more than 60,000 refunds that were filed over the weekend and earlier this week – not just those that meet the ID protection program’s criteria.

If you have a question about your tax preparation software, please contact the provider directly. If you receive a quiz or letter from the Department and you have not yet filed your 2014 income tax return, use the number provided on the correspondence you received to notify us immediately.

In fiscal year 2014, the agency’s ID verification and other initiatives saved taxpayers $49.7 million in fraudulent or inappropriately filed claims.

You can learn more about the Department of Revenue’s ID verification program or how to report suspected tax fraud by CLICKING HERE.

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