TurboTax halts filing state returns

TurboTax, the online filing assistant, has temporarily halted sending in state returns over fraud concerns, its parent company announced Friday.

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The parent company, Intuit, said they took that step Thursday after TurboTax and state governments saw an influx of returns where identity thieves sought to steal a taxpayer's identity and refund. 

Brad Smith, Intuit's chief executive, said the company understood "the pain and frustration identity thieves cause taxpayers." Intuit also stressed that the increase in fraud didn't appear to because of a lapse in its security systems.

“We understand the role we play in this important industry issue and continuously monitor our systems in search of suspicious activity,” Smith said. “We’ve identified specific patterns of behavior where fraud is more likely to occur.

Utah's tax commission, one of those state agencies who saw an increase in fraud, said that 18 other states had found similar problem. 

Intuit said Friday that TurboTax users who have already filed will have their state returns transmitted as quickly as possible, and that it was already working with state agencies to get systems running again. 

Federal returns haven't been affected, Intuit added. But the IRS has been sending warnings for years about the rise in identity theft, calling it one of the country's "dirty dozen" tax scams.