PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Intuit Inc. — the owner of the tax preparation software TurboTax — has placed a temporary hold on e-filing state tax returns because some states, says Intuit, have seen an increase in suspicious filings.

“There were 16,000 fraudulent returns that were filed in the state of Alabama, another 8,000 so were reported in Utah,” says Duquesne University tax professor Bryan Menk.

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So far, Intuit has not said whether any Pennsylvania taxpayers were affected.

In a statement to KDKA-TV, the company says, “Intuit believes that these instances of fraud did not result from a security breach of its systems and that the information used to file fraudulent returns was obtained from other sources outside the tax preparation process. The examination is ongoing.”

Menk uses TurboTax to file his own taxes.

“TurboTax says it’s not a breach of their system, but from everything that I read and the state reports the only group that they are shutting down the electronic acceptance of state returns is from the TurboTax products, from Intuit products.”

But Menk says fraudsters are after taxpayers no matter how they file returns.

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“What they are doing is taking someone else’s private information, preparing a tax return and trying to collect the refund that would be due to an individual. Rather than have the refund put into my bank account if it was my tax return they would have the refund put into their bank account.”

The temporary halt to e-filing only affects state tax returns. Federal tax returns are still able to be processed.

Menk says taxpayers who don’t want to wait until the problem is resolved can just use the U.S. Mail.

“I’m going to print it out and file a hard copy. Following the rules, it’s going to delay your refund a little bit, but it’s not that big a deal.”

TurboTax has a hotline for those with questions. You can link to that number here.

TurboTax also released this statement for customers who think they may be been a victim of fraud:

“To assist any customers who believe they are victims of tax fraud, Intuit has implemented a plan that includes a dedicated toll-free number, 800-944-8596, with direct access to specially trained identity protection agents who will provide comprehensive support and filing assistance. In addition, Intuit will provide identity protection services and free credit monitoring, as well as provide access to all versions of its software or to the assistance of one of Intuit’s credentialed tax experts who will prepare taxes for affected customers at no expense.”

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