COLUMBUS, Ohio – March 18, 2015 – As Ohio’s tax filing deadline of April 15 draws closer, the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) reminds Ohio taxpayers that income tax fraud and identity theft continue to pose a danger to filers. So far this tax filing season, Ohio’s strengthened security efforts have intercepted a record number of returns seeking fraudulent refunds, likely surpassing last year’s 65,000 returns that included $276 million in fraud.

“We appreciate the patience and cooperation from those Ohioans receiving tax refunds this year who have been asked to take an additional step to help us screen for potential tax fraud,” said Ohio Tax Commissioner Joe Testa. “Given the fact that more Ohioans are getting tax refunds as a result of Ohio’s income tax reductions, we understand that our improved tax fraud process is not always welcomed news for those getting a bigger refund. But, the process is working thanks to the help of Ohioans.”

To help tackle tax fraud, Ohio has joined other states in using a new Identity Confirmation Quiz to help ensure tax refunds are paid to legitimate filers.

“So far, the quiz is proving to be an invaluable tool, with 98 percent of the nearly one million taxpayers being asked to take the quiz passing it,” Testa said. According to Testa, fraudulent filers rarely – if ever— attempt to take the quiz. “One thing that might be very telling is that about 160,000 filers who were asked to take the quiz to receive their refunds still have not done so – a clear indication as to the level of potential fraudulent attempts.”

The Department of Taxation continues to encourage feedback from taxpayers who have been asked to take the quiz as it has enabled the department to make improvements to this new process. Based on feedback so far, the department has modified criteria for being selected to take the quiz questions and changed questions. The department has also focused on how it can reduce call times so that more taxpayers are served and hold times reduced.

Ohioans receiving a letter to take a quiz before they receive their tax refund are being encouraged to respond quickly, so the Department of Taxation can go through the required steps to confirm their identity, and continue processing their return.

For additional information please visit www.tax.ohio.gov and click on the link to Fighting ID Theft.