Treasury Department requesting quizzes to protect tax refunds, thwart fraud

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LANSING (WJRT) (3/13/2019) - Some Michigan taxpayers are receiving a quiz instead of their tax refund as the state works to thwart fraud cases.

The Michigan Department of Treasury is requesting the quizzes to help confirm taxpayers' identities. That cuts down on fraudulent tax filings under a legitimate person's name and refunds going to scammers.

“When we detect something that may not be right with a tax return, we ask for additional information to protect the taxpayer,” said Deputy State Treasurer Glenn White, who oversees Treasury’s Tax Administration programs.

The Treasury Department says it deployed additional security measures with 4,500 tax returns since 2016, preventing scammers from obtaining $19 million worth of fraudulent tax returns.

State officials say cyber criminals often attempt to file a state income tax return under the identity of an unsuspecting taxpayer. That could lead to trouble when a taxpayer files their legitimate tax return and attempts to claim their refund.

The Treasury Department is mailing letters to some taxpayers requesting more information. That can come in the form of an online quiz or submitting additional paperwork to the state.

Taxpayers also can call a phone number included in the letters for anyone who doesn't feel comfortable taking an online quiz.

Tax refunds will be issued about a month after the Treasury Department is satisfied taxpayers' identities have been confirmed.

Anyone who believes they were victims of identity theft should call the Treasury Department to head off any issues with their tax returns.

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