DES MOINES, Iowa– The Iowa Department of Revenue said it will take about eight weeks after filing to receive a state tax refund. The department spokesperson said the reason for the delay is for the safety of your information and preventing refund fraud by taking more time to verify information.
“We have experienced nationally, skyrocketing tax refund fraud. In some large cities it is the preferred method of financing of gangs as opposed to trying to sell drugs, because it’s logistically easier. It’s a white collar crime which typically means the sentences are more lenient,” Iowa Department of Revenue spokesperson Victoria Daniels said.
To try and prevent fraud and identity theft, the Department of Revenue updated its processing systems to look for trends.
“We share information with the IRS, we share information with other tax agencies and we also work with the tax software industry to collaboratively figure out what the trends are, what’s the new scheme. It’s like a computer virus. We update our computer systems daily because as soon as we catch on to one scheme and block that, the criminals figure out another one,” Daniels said.
Dave Boelman, co-owner of Boelman Shaw Tax and Financial Planning, said one of the best ways to file your taxes is electronically or through a Certified Public Accountant or Enrolled Agent.
“When we go to e-file, the systems at both the federal and state level bounce back and won’t let you file a second time. So we’ll know if someone has filed under your name,” Boelman said.
Boelman said at his firm they double check everything before e-filing to try and prevent identity theft.
“As a policy at our firm, we get the client’s most recent driver’s license number, just to make sure you are who you say you are,” Boelman said.
Another thing to watch out for during tax season are phone scams.
“From our perspective, we’re not going to call you. We are going to send you a letter first. If you get that letter there will be a name and number of a person for you to contact, so you can call that number. We’re not going to threaten to take you to jail. We’re not going to ask you for your bank account number or your social security number or your credit card number,” Daniels said.
She added, if you have any doubt ask for the caller’s name and number and tell them you will call back, then reach out to the department of revenue to try and verify that person.
The state deadline is May 1 and the federal deadline is April 18.
If you are wondering where your state refund is you can go to the Iowa Department of Revenue to find out.