Accelerated Refund Program Talking Points

Virginia Department of Taxation

P.O. Box 1115

Richmond, VA 23218-1115

(804) 367-8031 (Individual)

(804) 367-8037 (Business)

Virginia Tax Eliminates Accelerated Refund Program

    • To properly detect and prevent refund fraud and identity theft, the Virginia Department of Taxation will stop issuing accelerated refunds effective December 1, 2016.
    • Refund fraud and identify theft is on the rise nationwide and in Virginia. Fraudsters are very sophisticated and continue to seek new ways to commit fraud.
    • The Federation of Tax Administrators, IRS, and state revenue agencies are working together to detect and prevent refund fraud.

    Refund Fraud Prevention Requires Thorough, Consistent Scrutiny

    • Virginia individual income tax refund returns can pass through more than 60 models that evaluate return data against numerous criteria. However, accelerated refund returns don’t receive the same scrutiny. 
    • Accelerated refunds are issued without review of the specific information on the tax returns; therefore, the returns cannot be adequately evaluated for fraud.
    • Accelerated refunds are the only returns not processed before a refund is issued; all other refunds are contingent on review of all information on the tax return.
    • One of our most effective ways to validate a refund is to compare the withholding information on the return against the withholding records provided by the taxpayer’s employer.  With accelerated refunds, we do not know the withholding amount until the return is processed, which is after the refund has been issued.  
    • Once a refund has been issued, it’s very difficult to recover the funds if it’s later discovered to be a fraudulent return.