The Montana Department of Revenue is busy filing tax returns! Spokeswoman Molly Peterson said the average refund this year is a bit higher than past years.

"Since January 20 when this tax season opened, we have processed almost 225,000 individual income tax returns," Peterson said. "The number of refunds from those returns total 193,000. The average refund that taxpayers are getting is $405."

Peterson said that the Department of Revenue has ramped up its pursuit of tax fraud this year, with surprising results.

"So far we have blocked 529 fraudulent returns and that has stopped almost $583,000 in fraudulent refunds," Peterson said. "We've added steps and we've actually got it to the point now where there's not a lot of extra time that it's taking so we're about on par in this past year with about how long it's taking to get refunds out."

So far, the total amount refunded to taxpayers is over $78 million.

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