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No Illinois tax refunds until after March 1

A taxpayer searches for the correct state tax form. | AP file photo

The Illinois Department of Revenue says taxpayers will have to wait until after March 1 to receive income tax refunds.

The department says the delay is due to its efforts to stop fraud, not because of the state budget impasse.

State Revenue Director Connie Beard said in a statement the delay of a few weeks will let the department “better detect attempts at identity theft and ensure taxpayer refunds do not fall needlessly into hands of criminals.”

“Fraud prevention measures implemented by the Department of Revenue during last year’s tax season resulted in an overall savings of nearly $5 million that would have, otherwise, been paid,” Beard said. “Our new security protocols proved very beneficial in detecting and stopping fraudulently filed returns last year, andwe are continuing to enhance our fraud detection efforts this year.The department says those who file state tax returns electronically before March 1 will receive their refunds two to three weeks after March 1. For those who file after March 1, the department will issue refunds two to three weeks after the returns are submitted.

Contributing: AP