HELENA — Officials with the state Revenue Department say they processed tax returns and got refunds out to taxpayers more quickly this year, in part because they’ve got an improved system for detecting fraudulent returns.
Steve Austin, administrator of citizen services, told members of the Revenue and Transportation Committee on Wednesday that the agency processed returns seeking refunds first. The average turnaround time from electronically filing a state return to receiving a refund was seven days this year, compared to 10.8 days last year.
So far, the agency has caught attempts to fraudulently claim $192,000 in refunds.
Last year the agency prevented $4.48 million in fraudulent refunds. Austin says the number was so high because one return sought a $4.2 million refund. It was submitted and rejected several times.
Austin says the state will continue to be vigilant.
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