This tax season bringing delayed returns and identity theft - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

This tax season bringing delayed returns and identity theft

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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Tax season is in full swing, but the refund checks are being bogged down by delays.

This year, taxpayers have to wait longer than ever to get their refunds.

The filing start date was pushed back by almost two weeks this year because of the fiscal cliff. It could take three weeks to get your money, rather than the usual 8 to 15 days.

It could take even longer to get your refund if you are claiming certain credits.

The IRS is delaying taxpayers from filing returns that include energy, education, and adoption credits among others. Those credits won't be available for filing until mid-February, or even the beginning of March.

It is a burden for both tax preparers and taxpayers, many of whom are depending on their returns to pay the bills.

But the new tax laws put in place to avoid the fiscal cliff have caused some growing pains for the IRS, as they make programming changes.

"Because of the delay, everybody has been bombarding the IRS with needing information and so forth. They are shutting down occasionally for a day or two to fix a problem. It has made things much more difficult this year than in the past," said David Freeman with Liberty Tax Service.

Delays are not the only issue for taxpayers this year, tax fraud and identity theft is on the rise.

The IRS stated about a half million people fall victim last year, and this year it could be even more.

Tax fraud can happen several different ways. Some tax preparers may steal your information to redirect your refund to them.

Another taxpayer who you know could claim you on their taxes, when they are not authorized to or someone else could get a hold of your social security number and claim you ask them, to get your refund.

People filing taxes by mail could get their tax returns and refunds stolen from their mailboxes.

Experts say monitor your mailbox, use certified mail through the U.S. Postal Service to confirm your return was received or choose to have your refund direct deposited to your bank account.

The IRS stated more than 100 people have been arrested for identity theft.

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