With tax season upon us, Georgians can expect their tax returns to be carefully scrutinized once again this year.
Revenue Commissioner Doug MacGinnitie says the Department of Revenue blocked more than 158,000 fraudulent returns last year saving the state nearly $99 million.
“We’re trying to balance getting people’s refunds back to them as quickly as possible with protecting taxpayer money, because if we just processed everything that showed up, we’d send out $100 million a year that didn’t belong to the people that asked for it and cause headaches for everybody whose identity was stolen,” he tells WSB.
While MacGinnitie can’t say the exact methods used to scrutinize those returns, he does say don’t be surprised if you get a notice from his department asking you to confirm your identity.
His department assisted in the arrests this week of two Smryna men accused of stealing the identities of 132 victims and then filing fraudulent returns in their names back in 2011. Justin Harrison, 29, and Hakeem Hopkins, 24, were able to collect $134,000 in refunds.
MacGinnitie says while the state may not get that money back, it is doing what it can to prevent other ID thieves from following suit.
“We will both try to stop it on the front end and then also prosecute it on the back end, but unfortunately it’s all too easy to do,” he says.