Ohio Tax Refunds Slightly Delayed This Year

 

This is a letter I received from the State of Ohio that I felt you needed to see:

 

Dear Ohio Taxpayer:

In order to better protect Ohio taxpayers and prevent tax fraud, the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) is implementing additional safeguards that will inevitably cause some refunds to be delayed this upcoming income tax filing season.

These steps are being taken to further bolster defenses in anticipation of a continuing increase in attempted tax fraud involving identity theft. Last year, ODT intercepted an unprecedented number of fraudulent income tax returns seeking to steal refunds totaling more than $250 million. In previous years, attempted tax fraud averaged about $10 million.

To detect and counter refund fraud related to ID theft, an additional up-front filter will now be applied to all tax refund requests to analyze the demographic information reported on a return. This analysis will then assign a “probability of fraud” factor that will determine how the return is then further processed by ODT.

If a return is pulled for review, ODT’s additional security measures will require some taxpayers to successfully complete an Identification Confirmation Quiz, before the return will continue to be processed. If a taxpayer’s return is selected for identity confirmation they will receive a letter from ODT directing them to our website (www.tax.ohio.gov). The website will provide access to the quiz, detailed instructions on how to complete it, and frequently asked questions for reference. Taxpayers without Internet access will be directed to call ODT at 1-855-855-7579, for assistance with completing the quiz.

The additional screening and security measures will unfortunately slow the processing of electronic and paper returns, and the issuance of refunds. Electronic returns requesting a refund may take up to 15 days to be direct deposited this year, and paper returns could take up to 30 days for a physical check to be mailed out.

ODT is committed to aggressively fighting ID theft and tax fraud. Thank you for your time and understanding.

 

Sincerely,

 

Joe Testa
Ohio Tax Commissioner

What $350 Million in IRS Budget Cuts Means for Taxpayers


(WASHINGTON, DC, January 12, 2015) You may recall that back in December of 2014, Congress passed a spending bill that will fund the government through September of 2015. That’s good, right? No government shut-down. However, this spending bill includes yet another funding haircut for the IRS, which is probably going to make your life a little worse this tax season. By “haircut” we mean roughly $350 million in spending cuts – which even in DC is real money.

 

So, how might that affect you this tax season? Well, for one thing, your odds of getting through to the IRS Help Line while you’re still in your youth have gone from slim to none now that IRS funding has been reduced (once again) to three percent less than last year and $1.5 billion below the president’s requested amount. National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson was predicting before the cuts that 2015 would bring us the “worst filing season” in years. No crystal ball is needed to see that administering more than 40 new provisions under the Affordable Care Act for the first time this year is going to call for more IRS staff standing by to answer questions, not fewer.


In December, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told reporters that in the last four years the IRS budget has been cut by approximately $1.2 billion and its staff reduced by about 13,000. IRS’s $11.3 billion budget for 2014 was seven percent below the level appropriated in 2010. On top of frustrating taxpayers in need of answers, Koskinen predicts that the reductions in staff will result in nearly $2 billion in uncollected revenue this year.

 

If the idea of hanging on hold with the IRS for hours isn’t appealing to you, this may be the year for you to join the nearly 60 percent of U.S. taxpayers who hire a paid preparer. Licensed preparers know the intricate (and constantly changing) tax laws, regulations and codes, and how they can be applied for your benefit to save you money. Enrolled agents, America’s tax experts®, are required to complete IRS-approved annual continuing education, ensuring that they have the most up-to-date strategies to make sure you pay only what you owe and get any refunds you are due. Enrolled agents not only specialize in tax preparation and tax planning, they can also represent you before the IRS. Find an enrolled agent in your area on the “Find an EA” directory at www.naea.org.

Five Tax Credits That Can Reduce Your Taxes

 

Tax credits help reduce the taxes you owe. Some credits are also refundable. That means that, even if you owe no tax, you may still get a refund.

Here are five tax credits you shouldn’t overlook when filing your 2013 federal tax return:

1. The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable credit for people who work but don’t earn a lot of money. It can boost your refund by as much as $6,044. You may be eligible for the credit based on the amount of your income, your filing status and the number of children in your family. Single workers with no dependents may also qualify for EITC.

2. The Child and Dependent Care Credit can help you offset the cost of daycare or day camp for children under age 13. You may also be able to claim it for costs paid to care for a disabled spouse or dependent.

3. The Child Tax Credit can reduce the taxes you pay by as much as $1,000 for each qualified child you claim on your tax return. The child must be under age 17 in 2013 and meet other requirements.

4. The Saver’s Credit helps workers save for retirement. You may qualify if your income is $59,000 or less in 2013 and you contribute to an IRA or a retirement plan at work.

5. The American Opportunity Tax Credit can help you offset college costs. The credit is available for four years of post-secondary education. It’s worth up to $2,500 per eligible student enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period. Even if you don’t owe any taxes, you still may qualify. However, you must complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file a tax return to claim the credit.

Before you claim any tax credit, be sure you qualify for it. Find out more about these credits at www.DataViewTax.com .

 

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