State puts nearly 50,000 tax returns on hold

Data breaches lead the state to take a closer look at more returns

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Efforts to stop fraud in its tracks have led the state to put more tax returns on hold so far this year.

State tax and revenue secretary Demesia Padilla says approximately 49,500 returns have been held up for investigation as of Monday, about 10 percent of all returns filed in the state so far.

“It’s a little bit higher than last year, but that’s only because there have been so many more data breaches,” Padilla said.

Padilla says better communication with the IRS and other states have helped the state flag more returns than usual.

One example, returns from Portales and Gallup that were filed from a Georgia IP address in a case where it appears a tax preparer’s information was compromised. The money was set to go on a prepaid debit card where it would’ve been difficult to track. The state alerted others to keep an eye out for that particular scheme and has been receiving similar alerts back.

The consequence of all this is that state refund checks may be delayed by weeks for many taxpayers expecting them. On top of that, refunds that are paid out could come in a different form.

“There are some situations where we’re going to have to convert, for example, a direct deposit into a paper check,” Padilla said.

Some tax credits the IRS has determined are being abused is leading to companion credits at the state level being denied.

Padilla is advising taxpayers to be more careful with what personal information they put on social media and who they give their social security number to.

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