Markets Jan 10, 2016 09:58 PM EST

Tax refund to take longer due to IRS tighter security against fraud

By Staff Writer

Taxpayers will be filing their tax returns on January 19, but they have to wait for their tax refunds a little longer due to the tighter security imposed by the IRS to catch tax fraud.

The Washington Post reported that Illinois said that it will delay tax refunds to buy more time to review and verify tax returns. Tax payers have to wait for their state tax refunds until after March 1, said the department of revenue Monday.

The delay may sound like bad news, but it is actually good news in disguise as tax-related identity theft is becoming an increasing problem among the IRS, state tax authorities, and other tax groups.

"The day is gone when a state would try to guarantee that a tax return that had no immediate problems on it would generate a refund in three days," said Federation of Tax Administrators deputy director Verenda Smith in a report by CBS News. "Don't be surprised if you and your next-door neighbour send in your returns in the same day, and one of you gets your refund a week sooner."

According to Bloomberg News, there will be obvious and less visible changes that this tighter security will bring. Taxpayers who will use tax preparation firms or use filing software will experience a visible change as they log in from a different device or change certain account information. Meanwhile, the less visible changes would be the stronger fraud-detecting programs that the IRS, tax prep, and states will use. There will also be an enhanced information-sharing strategy among these three agencies.

There is no proof, however, that these measures would really make it hard for someone else to access users' account and claim their refund. The best way to protect tax refund is to file as early as January 19. Thieves usually take advantage of people's procrastination. It would be best to set deductions ahead of time and get no refund.

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