I like watching quiz shows on TV. I really enjoy seeing if I can answer Jeopardy questions before my husband, Dwight (and get them correct as well)!
The fun of TV games shows is one thing, but when you get a letter in the mail saying that your tax refund won’t be processed unless you take a quiz, it can cause concern and suspicion.
In mid-February, we began receiving phone calls from people regarding a letter they thought may be bogus, supposedly from the State of Ohio Department of Taxation. The letter stated just what I mentioned above, that in order to receive their state income tax refund, the taxpayer must pass an online quiz before the state puts their check in the mail.
This is one time consumers can believe the letter. The Ohio Taxation Identity Confirmation Quiz is NOT a scam. In 2015, Ohio started using the Identity Quiz to thwart identity thieves fraudulently collecting tax refunds, something that has been on the rise for several years. The test is designed so taxpayers can prove they are who they say they are.
Taxpayers receive a Taxation Identity Confirmation Quiz letter because an Ohio income tax return was filed using their Social Security number. The quiz is personalized, asking questions such as street addresses where you may have once lived, the year or make of a car you have owned, or how much, within $50, is your mortgage or car payment. The state says scam artists are less likely to know this is type of “out-of-wallet” information.
The information for the Identity Confirmation Quiz comes from a combination of public and commercial data sources of current and historical information about you. However, answering some of these questions can be frustrating. Trying to remember the model year of a Honda you owned 10 years ago or the address of your old college apartment can be difficult at best.
When taking the quiz online, follow directions in the letter regarding signing in. Once you’re on the website, you’ll be required to furnish the reference and authorization numbers from the letter, as well as the dollar amount of your Ohio tax refund.
You must answer three of the four questions asked within 10 minutes. You get three chances to take the test and pass it. If you fail the third time (or choose not to take it), you must confirm your identity by submitting certain documentation to the state by an old-fashioned fax or paper and snail mail. The documentation required to support the return if you failed the quiz will include:
• A copy of each of your employer-issued W-2(s), W-2G(s), 1099(s) and/or Schedule K-1 form(s). Software generated statements and/or copies of IRS Wage and Income statements are NOT acceptable forms because they do not include or support income tax withholding claimed on your Ohio IT-1040.
• A copy of your federal income tax return pages 1 and 2.
• A copy of all other supporting documentation (including worksheets, if applicable) used in the preparation of your Ohio IT-1040 for any deduction(s) and/or credit(s) taken.
• A copy of the Taxation Identity Confirmation Quiz letter you received.
More information can be obtained at the Ohio Department of Taxation website www.tax.ohio.gov/IdentityTheft-IDQuiz.aspx.
Jumping through the additional hoops of the Taxation Identity Confirmation Quiz can be exasperating, but if you take a few moments to complete the quiz, your return can be processed more quickly. And it’s a whole lot better than if you actually have to deal with identity theft.
Cheryl Parson is president of the Better Business bureau serving West Central Ohio. The BBB may be found on the Internet at www.lima.bbb.org.