ALBUQUERQUE – The New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department says it has temporarily halted around 74,000 personal income tax refunds this year.
The Albuquerque Journal reports officials say the move is aimed at fighting tax fraud due to identity theft.
That decision has stalled more than one out of 10 claimed refunds by New Mexico tax filers.
Officials say of the nearly 74,000, more than 22,000 received their refunds after the department was able to determine the returns were legitimate without requesting proof of identity.
The department says it requested proof of identity from nearly 49,000 other filers and more than 36,000 of those eventually received their refunds. It’s not clear how many of those who didn’t respond were identity thieves or how many were legitimate taxpayers who didn’t provide the requested information.
Tax return fraud and identity theft is not uncommon in New Mexico. In Doña Ana County, multiple people pleaded guilty for their roles in an IRS check-cashing and identity theft scam that came to light in 2015. The Doña Ana County Clerk’s office implemented new protocols after the scam and announced it worked with the state to further secure the voter database.