Tax Deadline Extended This Year To April 18th

April 15th is normally the day when you need to have your income tax returns in to the state and federal governments. But this year, citizens have a few days respite. The deadline for 2016 is Monday, April 18th.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, who visited with WFMD Radio on Thursday, said so far this year, it’s  been a very successful tax season. “We’ve now processed 2.2-million returns in the last couple of months. We’ve returned between $1-and-a-half to $2-billion in refunds to Marylanders,” Franchot says.

But he says his staff has seen an increase in tax fraud. “We stopped processing state returns from 65 tax preparers,” says Franchot. “Our fraud detection software indicated they were filing highly questionable returns on behalf of their clients.”

He says 30 of these are Liberty Tax Service offices, which has a live person standing outside of their offices  dressed as the Statue of Liberty, waving a sign. “A number of them {are} in the economically challenged parts of Baltimore city that when you look at the returns, they’re made up. They’re fictional,” says Franchot.

Among the questionable deductions, he says,  are business expenses where there is no business, and claiming dependents when there are no dependents.

If you are planning to use a tax preparer, Franchot says make sure they sign your return and put  in their identification number. “Make sure your tax preparer  does not put themselves down as the people  to send the refund to. That’s a real red flag,” he says. In addition, don’t sign a blank return and look over your prepared return carefully before affixing your signature.