MILLEDGEVILLE — With income tax season in full swing so too are instances of tax fraud creating leeriness for both taxpayers and tax preparers.
Tax filing season officially started Wednesday, Jan. 30, when the Internal Revenue Service began accepting tax returns. This tax season, IRS officials are taking extra measures to ensure security and safety for taxpayers.
According to a press release from the IRS, one of the biggest issues the agency comes across during tax season is tax refund identity fraud. Tax refund identity fraud occurs when a thief uses another person’s name, social security number and birth date to file a fake tax return with fabricated income and tax-withholding data to collect a false refund. Consequently, when a person comes along and file his or her real tax return, the IRS flags it because one with the same social security number has already been submitted. The agency then processes the return manually and scrutinizes everything in it to authenticate the identity and determine which return is legitimate. The result is months of delays in processing a return and any refund that may rightly be owed.
Last year, the Georgia Department of Revenue put new security measures in place and stopped just more than $98 million in fraudulent refunds, according to department officials. This year, the department will again be fighting to protect Georgia taxpayers against fraud.
“Our Office of Special Investigations has done a great job fighting fraud and protecting taxpayer money over the last several years,” said Department of Revenue Commissioner Doug MacGinnitie via press release. “Stopping fraud continues to be a department priority, and we will continue using all available resources to protect tax payers and their tax dollars.”
According to Kathy Kueven, tax preparer at Kathy’s Tax Service in Milledgeville, the two biggest types of fraud that show up quite often in Baldwin County are fraudulent claims for children or disabled adults and fraudulent self-employment information on returns.