I hope everyone is doing well, and you are safe and warm after dealing with the aftermath of the Blizzard 2013!
For those who are filing income tax returns, I would like to share some useful information that the Department of Revenue Services (DRS), and its Commissioner Kevin B. Sullivan shared with us.
This year, more than ever, the DRS is asking taxpayers to be more aware and cautious about identity theft and fraud.
After hearing from many taxpayers, the DRS has come up with a Refund Protection Program seeking to reduce fraud tax returns and identity theft.
As we have been informed, in some cases, the new program may bring small delays in refunds issued to taxpayers, due to the anti-fraud screening and additional security, but the relatively small inconvenience will diminish refunds being stolen by criminals.
It is best to file early to avoid being the victim of identity theft and fraud. The following are some frequently asked questions about the refund protection program that I hope you find helpful.
According to the agency, some taxpayers who may be due a state income tax refund will be notified by DRS when the new refund protection plan indicates the possibility of identity theft and a fraudulent claim. The notice will ask taxpayers to call a toll free number or visit a website in order to answer a few questions where the correct answer should only be known to the specific taxpayer.
QUESTION 1: Why is DRS making me answer questions before issuing my Connecticut tax refund?
ANSWER: This helps assure that your refund will not be stolen by someone who has stolen your identity or made a fraudulent claim.
QUESTION 2: Where did DRS get my personal information?
ANSWER: All the taxpayer specific information comes from public records but the responses will usually only be familiar to the actual taxpayer.
QUESTION 3: Why was I selected to go through this process?
ANSWER: Some of the information from the tax return submitted in your name has automatically triggered this further review. All you have to do is correctly answer a few questions specific to your identity.
QUESTION 4: What if I elect not to answer the questions?
ANSWER: DRS cannot release your refund until assured that your refund is not being issued to someone posing as you.
QUESTION 5: What happens if make a mistake and answer the questions incorrectly?
ANSWER: You will be able to answer a second short series of questions.
QUESTION 6: What if I cannot answer the second set of questions?
ANSWER: Your refund cannot be released until our tax investigations staff works with you to confirm your identity.
QUESTION 7: How can I be sure that the DRS notice is not some sort of identity theft scam?
ANSWER: The DRS notice you receive will provide a specific, secure toll-free telephone number (855-842-1441). Note that this is the only way to contact DRS in order quickly to clear a refund that is due to you.
I hope this information answers your questions. If you need additional information
on protecting yourself from identity theft and secure income tax filing through the state’s Taxpayer Service Center, visit the new identity theft web page at www.ct.gov/DRS/identitytheft