Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger last week provided information to North Dakota’s individual income taxpayers about the upcoming tax filing season.
The North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner opened the state income tax filing season on Jan. 19, coinciding with the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) filing season opening. Both electronic and paper filed returns were accepted starting on that date.
“Our office has been gearing up for the upcoming tax season with a considerable focus on combating tax fraud,” Rauschenberger said. “The 2015 tax season saw a sizable increase in the amount of attempted tax fraud, and we are expecting 2016 to follow suit. We encourage taxpayers to file as early as possible to help prevent fraud.”
During the 2015 individual income tax season, the Office of State Tax Commissioner stopped more than 900 returns claiming $1.3 million in fraudulent refunds. The increase in fraudulent activity led the Office of State Tax Commissioner to institute additional preventative measures, which have been modified and implemented for the 2016 tax season. These measures will result in slower refund processing time.
“We ask that taxpayers be patient when waiting for their refunds,” Rauschenberger added. “A slightly longer processing time is actually a good thing. We are taking the time to prevent North Dakota tax dollars from getting into the hands of fraudsters.”
Taxpayers may use the newly improved Where’s My Refund? tool to track their refunds. This tool has been recently revamped tao include a refund tracker, as well as more detailed and individualized information for the taxpayer on the status of their return. Taxpayers may also sign up to receive email or text alerts when their refund is issued. Information on the Where’s My Refund? tool is updated daily.
Tax Commissioner Rauschenberger continues to encourage taxpayers to e-file. “E-file is the fastest and most secure way to file,” said Rauschenberger. “In 2015, more than 424,000, or nearly 86 percent, of North Dakota individual income taxpayers filed their income tax return electronically.”
The Office of State Tax Commissioner also revamped its online ND Free File tool to help taxpayers easily see if they qualify to file their federal and state returns for free with certain tax software companies. Taxpayers may also e-file by purchasing tax preparation software, by working with a tax professional, or by using the Office of State Tax Commissioner’s stand-alone free ND Fillable Forms option (for ND return only). This filing season North Dakota, along with many state tax departments, is requesting driver license or state-issued identification card information for electronically filed tax returns.