The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) has announced that they do not anticipate releasing Individual Income Tax refunds for the 2016 tax filing season until March 1st. The decision comes as fraud prevention efforts from last year’s tax season illustrate the positive impact that additional delays and scrutiny have had in combating tax return fraud and identity theft. IDOR is reminding taxpayers that filing tax returns electronically and requesting direct deposit into a checking or savings account is still the fastest way to receive a refund.
“Fraud prevention measures implemented by the Department of Revenue during last year’s tax season resulted in an overall savings of nearly $5 million that would have, otherwise, been paid,” said Connie Beard, IDOR Director. “Our new security protocols proved very beneficial in detecting and stopping fraudulently filed returns last year, and we are continuing to enhance our fraud detection efforts this year. By delaying tax refunds by just a few weeks, we’ll be able to better detect attempts at identity theft and ensure taxpayer refunds do not fall needlessly into the hands of criminals.”
For electronic returns filed prior to March 1, 2016, IDOR anticipates refunds will be issued within two to three weeks from March 1st. For electronic returns submitted error-free on or after March 1, IDOR anticipates refunds will be issued within two to three weeks from the date the return was submitted. Tax refunds are not subject to budgetary appropriation by the Illinois General Assembly and are, therefore, not impacted by the current budget impasse.
For the most up-to-date information, forms, schedules, and instructions for the 2016 Illinois Income Tax Filing season, please visit IDOR’s website at: tax.illinois.gov.