New Tax Refund Scam – It’s Not What You’d Expect

The Delaware Division of Revenue would like to alert taxpayers to a new and growing scam involving fraudulent tax refunds being deposited into real taxpayer bank accounts. After the money is deposited, the crooks use various tactics to con taxpayers into turning over those funds.

How does it work? Thieves are using schemes, including phishing, to steal client data from tax professionals. They then use that data to file fraudulent tax returns, and use the taxpayers’ real bank accounts to deposit those tax refunds. Finally, the thieves pose as the IRS or other law enforcement representatives, call attention to the error, and ask taxpayers to return the money to them.

If you ever receive a refund that you are not expecting, call the Division of Revenue for more information. You can also check out the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft at IRS.gov to learn how to protect yourself from tax scams, where you can also find help with returning an erroneous refund.

The IRS warns that versions of this new scam may continue to evolve. If you think you’re being scammed, call the Delaware Division of Revenue’s Fraud Team at (302) 856-5358 for assistance.

Scam steals tax money!


Delaware Personal Income Tax Season Begins January 29

Division of Revenue Director Jennifer R. Hudson has announced that the Delaware individual income tax season will begin on Monday, January 29, 2018, concurrently with the opening of the federal individual tax season announced by the IRS. While this is slightly later than previous years, the January 29 date was set to ensure the security and readiness of key tax processing systems, and to assess the potential impact of tax legislation on 2017 tax returns. Delaware will begin issuing income tax refunds on Monday, February 19, 2018. The State of Delaware will begin to accept business tax returns on January 16, 2018.

Tax Form

Electronic filing remains the fastest and safest way to file your personal income tax returns. Delaware will continue to offer taxpayers the opportunity to file for free through the Division of Revenue website. Delaware’s user-friendly system is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and allows taxpayers to file their returns and schedule payments to be made closer to the April 30, 2018 deadline. You may pay your State of Delaware taxes using a credit card, or by debiting your bank account.

If you prefer to use tax-preparation software, you can electronically file your federal and state income tax returns for a fee. Many of these products also offer free-filing options for Delaware taxpayers who meet one of the following qualifications:

  • Those with adjusted gross income that is less than the software’s established means criteria; or
  • Active-duty military with an adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less (including Reservists and National Guard); or
  • Those who qualify for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Returns filed in hard copy are processed using a modernized system that identifies tax filings based on the return type. Any taxpayer who files a 2017 tax return using a prior-year return, or who modifies the paper return in some way, could experience significant delays. Paper tax returns will be available at local libraries, Revenue’s three public service offices, or via download at de.gov/17taxforms.

Delaware individual income tax returns will be due on or before April 30, 2018. It is important to remember that anyone who has worked in Delaware must file a Delaware tax return, even if they are not a Delaware resident. Similarly, Delaware residents who work in another state are required to file returns with Delaware in addition to the state in which they worked.
By law, Delaware employees should receive their W-2 forms from their employers no later than January 31, 2018 for any job worked during the 2017 calendar year. If you have not received a W-2 by January 31, 2018 please contact your employer.


Revenue Announces Threshold Updates Under the Delaware Competes Act

The Division of Revenue announced the annual adjustments to filing thresholds for small businesses and employers under the Delaware Competes Act. These threshold adjustments are intended to ensure that small businesses continue to reap the benefits of the Delaware Competes Act for years to come.

As noted last year, the safe harbor provision for small businesses had been enacted in 1984, but because the original qualification thresholds had not been adjusted, many small businesses had stopped qualifying for the reduced reporting obligations. “Updating thresholds throughout Delaware’s tax code reduces administrative and compliance costs for small businesses and the Division of Revenue alike,” said Division of Revenue Director, Jennifer Noel. “These adjustments will continue to ensure that the tax code is predictable and fair for small businesses and will maintain the reduced filing frequencies that small businesses benefited from last year.”

This notification is part of the Division of Revenue’s annual notification process, in which businesses and employers receive updates regarding their filing responsibilities for the upcoming year. The Delaware Competes Act mandates that thresholds are subject to an annual inflation adjustment, meaning that the thresholds’ future effectiveness will not erode over time.

New threshold information can be found by visiting the Division of Revenue web site at http://revenue.delaware.gov/services/Business_Tax/Threshold_Update_102017.pdf.


New Director Appointed to the Division of Revenue

Delaware Department of Finance Secretary Rick Geisenberger has announced the appointment of Jennifer Noel, Esq. as the new Director for the Division of Revenue, effective October 1, 2017.

Ms. Noel has represented the Department of Finance, the Division of Revenue, and the Division of Accounting as a Deputy Attorney General since 2012. In this role, she helped draft major legislation reforming corporate income tax laws (the Delaware Competes Act) as well as updates to tobacco, alcohol, personal income, and estate tax laws. She has worked with taxpayers and their representatives to ensure cases are managed fairly and transparently, while working with the Department in diverse matters, including statutory interpretation, audit management, and contractual obligations.

“Jenn is well known to tax practitioners throughout the State,” said Secretary Geisenberger. “With two and half decades of experience in tax law – mostly as an advocate for taxpayers, but also as the Division of Revenue’s lawyer – she is uniquely equipped to fairly administer Delaware’s tax system while driving forward the Carney Administration’s efforts to continuously improve customer service to our citizens and businesses.” Ms. Noel will also serve as Delaware’s State Escheator, with responsibility for unclaimed property administration.

Prior to joining state government, Ms. Noel was a tax attorney in private practice for 12 years at one of Wilmington’s largest law firms, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP. While completing her undergraduate and law degrees, she worked as a law clerk, tax paralegal and legal assistant. Ms. Noel earned her J.D. and B.S. degrees from Widener University, and is currently pursuing an LLM in Tax from Georgetown University, with a certificate in state and local tax. She is active in the Delaware tax community, having chaired the Delaware State Bar Association’s Tax Section and served on the planning committee for the Delaware Tax Institute.

“I look forward to the opportunity to continue working with the outstanding team at the Division of Revenue to serve the taxpayers of the State of Delaware. Customer service will be a priority as we look for ways to improve our effectiveness and create greater efficiencies in our processes,” said Director Noel.


Hurricane Irma – Additional Extension of Time to File

The Delaware Division of Revenue will extend certain deadlines for filing individual and business tax returns, as well as for making certain tax payments for taxpayers who have been directly impacted by the severe storms and flooding caused by Hurricane Irma.

“The Division of Revenue recognizes the impact that Hurricane Irma has had on taxpayers and will take all steps necessary to assist hurricane victims who need assistance with Delaware’s tax filing obligations,” said Division of Revenue Director, David Gregor.

Delaware will follow the rules outlined by the Internal Revenue Service in news release IR-2017-150. The extended tax return filing due dates apply to taxpayers located in the impacted disaster areas identified in the IRS notice. The tax relief postpones various tax filing deadlines that occurred starting on Aug. 23, 2017 thru January 16, 2018 to January 31, 2018. This includes an additional filing extension for individual taxpayers with valid extensions to Oct. 16, 2017, and businesses with valid extensions to Sept. 15, 2017.

To avoid a penalty assessment for late filing, taxpayers should submit a written request seeking an additional extension via email to jeffry.schott@delaware.gov. If your request is based upon the tax records being located in the disaster area, please include the address where those tax records are located. Business taxpayer requests should be on company letterhead and signed by a company official.