Filing season starts on January 23, when the IRS begins accepting tax returns. Identity theft and refund fraud continue to be on the rise. We are taking important steps to help detect and prevent refund fraud. The Vermont Tax Department has partnered with the IRS other state tax agencies, and companies and trade associations in the tax and financial services industries to establish stronger security measures, particularly in filing online, including validation of identity and return information at the time of filing. Our new IT system, VTax, offers additional tools to help make sure you receive your refund and not a fraudster. Please be advised that after you submit your return, you may receive a letter from us requesting additional information.
We are also taking steps to provide protection of your tax dollars. Here are some things you can expect to see when you file your taxes this year:
- Fraud Prevention a Focus
The department continues to experience a rise in attempted tax refund fraud, an alarming trend that mirrors what is happening in other states and at the federal level. State revenue departments and the IRS are implementing procedures to help protect the taxpayer’s money. Vermont taxpayers will be asked to provide a Vermont driver’s license or state-issued identification card number when filing. If the information is not provided and the department cannot verify your identity, this may delay the processing of a refund. Read the full Press Release.
- Driver’s License Information
The State of Vermont is requesting additional information this filing season in an effort to combat stolen-identity tax fraud. Please provide the requested information from your driver’s license or state-issued identification card. This is a required field when filing your return this year. If you don’t have a driver’s license or state-issued identification card, you can check the box indicating that you do not have one. If you have a preparer file your return, be sure they have your driver’s license number, including state and date of issue, and expiration date.
- Refund Expectation
Taxpayers should be aware that the department measures to combat personal income tax fraud for the 2017 tax filing season may cause delays in receiving their refunds. The Department started processing returns the first week of February, however we may hold some returns until we receive W-2 withholding reports from employers, which are due on Jan. 31. Curious to know the status of your refund? After you file your return, you can find out the status by visiting myVTax. Once you transmit your e-filed return or mail in your paper return, please allow 72 hours for e-filing and 8-10 weeks for paper filing before checking your status on myVTax.
The most efficient and secure way to file Vermont tax returns continues to be electronic filing and direct deposit to an existing bank account is the fastest way to receive a refund. Taxpayers who e-file generally receive their refunds more quickly than those who file paper returns. E-filed returns have an expected time frame of 6-8 weeks for a refund, while paper returns typically take at least 8-10 weeks. See our Press Release on this topic.
- Return Verification Letters and Paper Checks
Over the last few years, the Department might have issued you a paper check, even if you selected to receive your refund by direct deposit or prepaid debit card. This protection helped the Department avoid sending your money to an account or debit card that is controlled by a criminal. However, with our IT system, we will now be sending return verification letters instead of automatically flipping your request to a paper check. This letter asks for you to go to myVTax and enter the verification code included on the letter. This will verify your request and allow us to proceed with processing your refund.
- New Features - Making Filing Easier
The Department continues to make improvements to make filing easier for all taxpayers. This year, we have implemented personal income tax into our new IT system. As a result, this year is the first year that folks can file their renter rebate claim online! This can be done through your tax software or directly on myVTax.
More information is available by visiting our Identity Theft and Fraud page.