Division of Revenue Director Patrick T. Carter announced that Delaware tax season will begin Jan. 23.

Division of Revenue Director Patrick T. Carter announced that Delaware tax season will begin Jan. 23.

Citizens are encouraged to file their 2016 state of Delaware personal income taxes at delaware.gov. The filing deadline will be May 1.

During the last filing season, the state dealt with a surge of fraudulently filed personal income tax returns and stopped over $9 million in fraudulent refunds from being issued. In order to better identify fraudulent returns, the Delaware Division of Revenue has created new methods of detecting and preventing fraudulent refunds. However, as a result, the first refunds will not be issued until after Feb. 15.

Delaware is urging taxpayers to electronically file their returns. Refunds from electronically filed returns are issued on average within two weeks, while refunds from paper-filed returns average over seven weeks. Last year, the average time to issue a refund for all tax filing methods combined was just over 20 days.

Delaware offers the following electronic filing options:

— Those who don’t need tax preparation software can file for free on the Delaware Division of Revenue website. This online system is user-friendly and available 24/7. The system also allows taxpayers to file their returns and then schedule any payment due closer to the May 1 deadline. Taxpayers may pay their state of Delaware taxes on this system using a credit card or by debiting their bank account.

— Those who prefer tax-preparation software can electronically file their federal and state income tax returns for a fee, although these products also offer free-filing options for Delaware taxpayers: whose adjusted gross income is less than the software’s established means criteria, who is an active-duty military with an adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less including Reservists and National Guard or who qualify for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit.

For paper-filed returns, the state uses a modernized processing system that identifies tax filings based on the return type. Any taxpayer who files a 2016 tax return using a previous-year return, or who modifies the paper return in some way, will experience delays. Paper tax returns will be available at local libraries or for download at revenue.delaware.gov.

Because Delaware does not maintain reciprocity agreements with other states, anyone who is not a Delaware resident, but who has worked in Delaware, should note that they must file a Delaware tax return. Delaware residents who work out-of-state are required to file returns with Delaware in addition to the state where they worked.

By law, Delaware employees should receive their W-2 employment forms by Jan. 31 for any job worked during the 2016 calendar year. Those who haven’t received a W-2 by Jan. 31 should contact their employer.