The Louisiana Department of Revenue will begin accepting and processing individual state income tax returns on Jan. 19 — the same day processing begins at the Internal Revenue Service.
The state department also enters this tax season with a focus on safeguarding taxpayers against fraud, a news release said.
During the past two years, the Revenue Department has saved taxpayers more than $25 million through its anti-tax fraud initiatives, and more than 50 people have been arrested under a statewide initiative to crack down on tax fraud in Louisiana, the release said.
The department has responded to increasing occurrences of tax fraud by implementing enhanced security measures, which means it’ll take additional time to process refunds from 2015, the release stated.
Expected refund processing time for returns filed electronically is up to 60 days, and for paper returns, taxpayers should expect to wait 12 to 14 weeks, according to the release.
A tax refund can be delayed while the department reviews suspicious tax returns, and when this occurs, the taxpayer is contacted through written correspondence with further instructions, the release stated.
Taxpayers also can experience delays in receiving refunds if they fail to keep their most current contact information on file, including name, address and telephone number.
Taxpayers can visit revenue.louisiana.gov to update contact information. To file electronically, residents can visit Louisiana File Online, the state’s free Web portal for individual and business tax filers at revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline.
With File Online, taxpayers can: file returns and pay taxes electronically, check the status of individual income tax refunds, amend tax returns, and view business tax information for current and previous years.
Taxpayers also may use commercial tax preparation software to file their state income taxes.
To check the status of a refund, visit revenue.louisiana.gov/refund or call (888) 829-3071. Applications are updated once every business morning, and taxpayers should call only if a return has exceeded the expected processing times of 60 days or 14 weeks depending on method of filing.
Residents needing 2015 state income tax forms can download them on Jan. 19 at revenue.louisiana.gov/taxforms.
In addition, the department provides tips for taxpayers in selecting a preparer and operates a fraud hotline at (866) 940-7053.
The filing deadline for 2015 individual income tax returns is May 16.