Illinois’ nearly year-long state budget standoff might appear to be the likely culprit with the recent news that the Illinois Department of Revenue will not issue state refunds to Illinois taxpayers until at least March 1. State Revenue Director Connie Beard stated that the delay in issuing refunds will allow the state to better root out increasing cases of identity theft and fraud that come with each tax season — a topic we addressed in another recent blog post.
“By delaying tax refunds by just a few weeks, we’ll be able to better detect attempts at identity theft and ensure taxpayer refunds do not fall needlessly into hands of criminals,” she said in a statement.
According to several published reports, the delay will affect up to 1.3 million Illinois taxpayers who normally file their tax returns in January and February. This year, for those that file electronically before March 1 and are due a refund, payments will be made two to three weeks after March 1.
For those that file after March 1, the two to three week window will apply from the date the tax return is processed by the state. Filing electronically and opting for direct bank deposit will be the quickest way to receive your 2015 refund, according to the IDR.
The state implemented new security measures in 2014 that delayed payments. However, according to Beard, these security measures prevented about $5 million in fraudulent refunds. Cases of tax return fraud and identity theft continue to skyrocket across the United States. In 2013, the federal government estimated that $5.2 billion in fraudulent tax refunds were paid. That number was estimated to be an astounding $21 billion in 2014.
If you have questions about your 2015 federal or state tax return, contact Chicago tax attorney Patrick T. Sheehan today.