Many constituents have contacted me about delays and problems they are experiencing with Georgia’s Department of Revenue.
When I contacted the Georgia Department of Revenue, I learned that the state’s tax filing is taking longer this year, for a number of reasons. According to Commissioner Lynne Riley, “The tax filing and processing period has been complicated for the Department of Revenue for a variety of factors,” Riley stated; “Whether it be one of the many data breaches that have been reported in the last year, or a spoofing or phishing scam, every incident requires us to modify our systems to protect the affected taxpayers.”
Currently, the Department has already successfully blocked over $17 million in fraudulently filed returns in 2016. As criminals become more sophisticated in their attempts to violate taxpayers’ identities and steal precious tax dollars, Georgia’s Revenue Department must continually update fraud defense strategies to thwart their efforts.
Our state relies on the information provided by employers via the W-2 form information to verify items on the Georgia Income Tax Return. Unfortunately, there can be delays when employers do not provide the information to the state in a timely fashion. Sometimes, this lack of supporting information may lead to delays in processing people’s returns and subsequent refunds.
Errors on individual returns may also be adding to delay issues. These errors may be made by the taxpayer or the person who prepared the tax return. When errors are made, the return must be checked by an employee at the Department. Sometimes, this can be the reason for the delay in the processing of the tax return and refund.
At the federal level, the Internal Revenue Service has admitted to allowing over $5 billion dollars to be paid out to criminals who have filed fraudulent returns in past years. This means that honest taxpayers have had to underwrite these losses. In order to prevent this from happening in Georgia, our Department of Revenue is using state-of-the-art fraud defense technology to review every return.
Now that we know what is happening, what can you do if you’re experiencing a delay in having your return processed and/or receiving your refund? The first step would be to register with the Department of Revenue’s Tax Center at GTC.DOR.Ga.gov. This will allow you to monitor the status of your refund. You can also use the Department’s application on your mobile device, or you can call 877-423-6711.
I would personally encourage everyone to make sure their payroll withholdings don’t need an adjustment, so everyone receives the benefit of their hard work throughout the year.