The state Department of Revenue says efforts to identify tax fraud in Wisconsin are paying off.
Safeguards used by the Department have helped stop about $255 million in potential fraudulent refunds and credits in the last six years, according to DOR Secretary Rick Chandler. Last year alone, the state $63 million in potentially fraudulent claims.
The process being used by the agency works to identify patterns with returns as they are coming in, which flags them for additional attention. Filers are then asked to answer some basic questions about their identity. “If it’s the real taxpayer, they’ll be able to answer the basic questions quickly, and then they’ll get their refund,” Chandler said. “If it’s an impostor, if it’s somebody trying to commit tax fraud, they won’t be able to answer the questions.”
Chandler says it’s hard to tell how many fraudulent returns may be slipping through the cracks, but he believes they are stopping the “lion’s share” of them. He notes they have seen a drop though in the number of people who try to file, only to find someone else has already submitted their return. “It’s something we have to keep working at, and we know there’s new schemes coming up all the time,” he says.