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News In Brief

Red Cross responds to Grand Ronde fire

GRAND RONDE — Disaster responders with the American Red Cross Cascades Region responded to a home fire disaster on Thursday at about 7 p.m. in the 7600 block of Fire Hall Road in Grand Ronde. This single-family fire affected two adults and pets.

The Red Cross provided resources to help address the immediate basic needs of those affected such as temporary housing, food, clothing, comfort kits, information about recovery services, and health and mental health services.

The Red Cross Cascades Region (Oregon and Southwest Washington) responds to an average of two home fires every day. Volunteers provide hope and comfort to people affected, helping victims anywhere and anytime. The Red Cross advocates emergency preparedness and offers the installation of free smoke alarms in our community. Residents may call 503-528-5783 or complete an online form at www.RedCross.org/CascadesHomeFire to schedule an appointment.

Cat adoption fees waived for December

SALEM — Want a cat this year?

Thanks to a donation from a shelter volunteer, the Willamette Humane Society is waiving cat adoption fees now through Saturday. The organization is waiving fees as part of its “Merry Cat-mas” campaign to help find homes for as many cats as possible before the end of the year.

The campaign applies only to cats 1 year old and older.

A local volunteer, the shelter’s “Secret Santa,” donated money to make the adoption special possible. The long-time supporter had already sponsored adoption fees for all adult and special needs cats for the month of December, according to a Willamette Humane Society press release.

Willamette Humane Society is located at 4246 Turner Road in Salem.

For more information: 503-585-5900.

Tax refund checks to wait until February

SALEM — Oregon Department of Revenue officials have announced that no personal income tax refunds for the 2016 tax year will be issued until after Feb. 15, 2017. The refund hold will allow data-matching of amounts claimed on returns to what employers report on Forms W-2 and 1099.

“Data-matching reduces potential refund fraud, and fraud is a problem we want to tackle from every direction we can,” said Ken Ross, manager of Revenue's anti-fraud efforts. “The IRS, Oregon, and other states are taking similar measures to prevent potential fraud, capitalizing on the requirement that employers submit W-2 and 1099 information by Jan. 31.”

Ross referred to the IRS’ announcement earlier this year that taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit won’t see their federal refunds until after Feb. 15.

The Oregon Department of Revenue stops millions of dollars in fraudulent refunds each year: In 2015, anti-fraud efforts stopped $6.9 million in fraudulent refunds claimed on almost 4,000 different returns. Fraudsters are known to submit fraudulent returns early, trying to go unnoticed among the many early filers requesting legitimate refunds. Among returns filed before Feb. 15, about 90 percent request a refund.

“No one wants to hold up a taxpayer’s legitimate refund, and taxpayers have been pretty understanding of the need to combat fraud,” Ross said. “We take very seriously our responsibility to make sure tax dollars go to the legitimate owners and not to fraudsters.”

Visit www.oregon.gov/dor to get forms, check the status of your refund, or make payments. Call 503-378-4988 or 800-356-4222 (toll-free) or email questions.dor@oregon.gov for additional assistance. For TTY for hearing or speech impaired, call 800-886-7204.

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