Tax refund fraud is quite real and we’re working to fight it.

Tax Refund Fraud Counter-Measures Check-List  

The threat of identity theft is no longer just a threat.

Experts tell us that it is not a matter of if hackers can gain access to your personal information; it’s a matter of when they already did.

The West Virginia State Tax Department strives every day to fight the very real fight against cyber criminals, identity theft and tax refund fraud. Every state in the nation, as well as the federal government, is working toward the best way to combat these criminals. In West Virginia, we recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Internal Revenue Service, other state revenue departments, and members of the tax industry to further strengthen our arsenal against a common and extremely sophisticated adversary.

We are working together to develop foolproof methods of verifying taxpayer identities. When you file your return, we want to give the refund to you, not some laptop thief thousands of miles away. At times our processes to do this may inconvenience you. We do apologize for that; however, know that we absolutely have your best interests at heart. Please bear with us.

In the 2014 tax return filing season alone, our employees processed more than 830,000 returns. More than 560,000 refunds have been issued for about $206 million for the filing season so far. A combination of electronic security measures as well as employee diligence prevented 1,294 returns identified as fraudulent from being issued this filing season. Those returns requested $2.6 million in refunds. Additionally, one return requesting well over $1 million also was stopped by employees. Many of us here at the agency believe the potential of future fraud is even greater because hackers are using your personal information to submit false returns under your name.

The Tax Commissioner emphasizes what a big deal this is for our state in these tough economic times because personal income tax in West Virginia accounts for close to 44 percent of the overall General Revenue budget.

We need your help.

We ask that you become ever-vigilant about protecting your personal information.

Sometimes, crime happens to innocent people. We ask that you contact us if your identity is ever stolen. Make a call to Taxpayer Services personnel at 800-982-8297 and let us know.

We ask that you bear with us as we take the time necessary to scrutinize your returns and verify your identity. It could mean you get your refund more slowly, but it also means no one else gets a refund in your name.

Check back here for updates on the fight against Income Tax Fraud in West Virginia and beyond, tips on how to protect your personal information and information on any changes to our tax-filing processes because of the threat of fraud that might occur in the future.

Stay vigilant out there.

The Team at the West Virginia Tax Department