By Elizabeth Hewitt, VTDigger.org
The Vermont Department of Taxes temporarily suspended the issuance of personal income tax refunds last week.
The state suspended refunds on Wednesday in response to reports that other states across the country are seeing an increase in fraudulent filings.
TurboTax, the popular tax preparation software company, announced on Friday that an uptick of suspicious filings had caused the company to stop processing state tax refunds.
Vermont government systems, however, have not been breached. The Department of Taxes said in a statement on Friday that the suspension of refunds in Vermont is “in an abundance of caution.”
Using stolen identity information, including a Social Security number, identity thieves file for somebody else’s tax returns. Often they will file in multiple states.
Vermont began using software to scan for signs of fraud in 2011. The department said that in 2014, the state caught more than 800 false refunds filings.
In a statement, the Tax Department cautioned Vermonters to carefully review security information before using any tax preparation service, whether a national store or a local merchant.
If you suspect that an illegitimate return has been filed in your name, contact the Vermont Department of Taxes at (802) 828-2865, or toll-free at (866) 828-2865. You can check if a Vermont return has been filed in your name at https://secure.vermont.gov/TAX/refund/.