Tax refund delays possible this year in Ohio

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New safeguards being put into place this year by the Ohio Department of Taxation could lead to late refunds this tax season.

In a release, the department said the safeguards are part of an effort to prevent tax fraud involving identity theft.

Last year, officials intercepted a large amount fraudulent income tax returns seeking to steal more than $250 million in refunds. In previous years, the average was about $10 million.

To detect and counter refund fraud, an up-front filter will be applied to all tax refund requests to analyze demographic information reported on a return. The analysis will then assign a "probability of fraud" factor to determine if the filing is fraudulent.

If a filing is pulled for a review, some taxpayers may be required to complete an ID confirmation quiz before the return can be processed. Taxpayers will be contacted through the mail if they have been targeted for the quiz.

All of the additional screening and security measures will slow the processing of returns this year. Electronic returns requesting a refund may take up to 15 days to be direct deposited. Paper returns could take up to 30 days for a check to be mailed out.

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