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Ohio may unfairly accuse taxpayers of tax fraud

Every year there are many fraudulent tax returns filed around the country. In response, the state of Ohio is increasing its efforts to intercept and stop tax fraud. Unfortunately, innocent people may end up caught in the mix.

The Ohio Department of Taxation believes it has identified upwards of 30,000 returns that are fraudulent for this tax season. That translates to be approximately $15 million in tax refunds that are being held by the state due to the fact that fraud is suspected. Every tax return filed in Ohio is being screened and those returns that are flagged will be discussed with the taxpayer.

The majority of fraudulent tax returns the state is looking for are filed using the name and social security number of a person that is in prison, dead or somehow incapacitated. Counterfeit documents are created to back up the falsely filed returns. The percentage of these returns may be small, but the screening process can cause legitimate returns to be flagged as well. By flagging suspicious returns, it is possible for innocent people to be wrongly accused.

When a taxpayer finds they have been accused of tax fraud, it may be a good idea to seek some advice and assistance in handling the problem. It may not just be the taxpayer's refund that is in jeopardy as a result of the accusation. Not only is the Ohio Department of Taxation involved, but the police may also be notified in some cases; and the taxpayer could even be arrested.

Source: CPA Practice Advisor, "States increasing watch for fraud on income tax returns," Mark Williams, April 7, 2013

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