North Dakota tax refunds experience backlog

Fraud protection and error detection are two factors on why the state is taking a longer look at filed returns.

State tax refunds may take a little longer than usual to process in North Dakota, because of the state's strict fraud detection policy. WDAY file photo
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FARGO — While many have gotten their federal tax refunds, or at least have them on the way, North Dakota tax agents are taking more time to look at the returns they've received.

According to Rachel Flagstad, the public information officer for the North Dakota Tax Office, they've gotten about 170,000 filed returns, and just over 10,000 of them are waiting to be checked for fraud or taxpayer errors.

Each state sets their own fraud detection rules, and North Dakota's are strict, according to Flagstad.

Flagstad added errors found on returns, whether their mathematical or clerical, can also add to processing time.

Devon Liljenquist, a certified public accountant at Arrow Advisors in Fargo, said getting your refund could also come down to how you filed your return, whether it's by paper or online.


"I wouldn't say there's more backlog on one side or the other, I mean, there's way more returns that are filed electronically, but they also process much faster when they're electronic, so there's probably more built up there, but not enough," he said.

According to state tax office data, they've found 1,500 cases of tax fraud over the past five years, which totaled $3.1 million.

Tanner Robinson is a producer for First News on WDAY-TV.
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