The implementation of security measures to combat identity theft and fraud is expected to delay Illinois income tax returns this spring, according to state officials.

Meanwhile, the Helen Matthes Library reports the Internal Revenue Service has decreased the number of forms sent out for public use, which could give taxpayers one more headache this tax season.

Here is what the library suggests:

• Request that forms be mailed to one's home either online at irs.gov/orderforms or phone 1-800-829-3676. Forms will arrive by mail in 7 to 15 days. Up to 10 forms can be requested. Instructions come with the forms, and the forms are free. Library patrons or visitors can use the library's public computers to request forms online. The library's information desk staff can assist the computer-illiterate.

• H&R Block will provide free forms but not instructions at 217-347-7797.

• The Effingham post office will also receive a limited number of forms -- if any. According to the library, post office patrons will be directed to the IRS website and phone number and to the library if they need further assistance.

• CEFS Outreach on the 200 block of North Banker Street at 217-347-7154 will provide intake interviews for those that may need help completing their taxes, begining the first business day in February. Here is the process and paperwork required: Intake interview, photo identification, Social Security card, W2 forms, a voided check for routing or checking account numbers.

• The Senior Center at 217-347-5569. The center's goal is to have tax forms and assist seniors in filling them out, though the center does not have approval to do so yet. If they do not receive approval, they will refer seniors to Robert West at CEFS Outreach at 217-347-7514.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Revenue will be delayed by new security measures to deter identity theft and fraud, according to The Associated Press. Agency spokesman Terry Horstman told the State Journal-Register in Springfield that it could take a week or longer — rather than days — to get returns once taxes are filed.

The AP said both paper and electronic filings will be affected, though electronic filings still will be quicker.

Officials aren't identifying the safety measures -- to prevent someone from bypassing them. Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office said there were 408 fraud complaints last year involving tax returns.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com, or on Twitter @EDNBGrimes.

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