Georgia tax regulators are reviewing every state tax return they receive amid worries of rampant fraud.
State Department of Revenue Commissioner Lynne Riley said Friday tax refunds filed through TurboTax will be delayed after the popular service temporarily halted the online filing of state tax returns. The firm said it was besieged by an increase in suspicious filings and attempts by fraudsters to use stolen information to file phony returns.
"We want to encourage taxpayers in Georgia to go to their accounts if they are using a third-party system and change passwords and user names to deter bad guys from getting the information," said Riley. "We are taking every precaution necessary to protect our taxpayers in this state."
She said the department has received a surge of cases from fraudsters trying to file phony 2014 income tax returns, and that personal information was hacked through a third-party security breach. More than 730,000 tax returns have been filed, though Riley said the number of potentially suspicious filings remains "fluid."
"We're doing everything we can to protect our taxpayers from the bad guys," said Riley, a former Republican legislator who was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to the post in December. "We are constantly evolving our fraud protection systems so we can immediately apply defense mechanisms."
Intuit, the parent company of TurboTax, said in a statement it was working with state agencies to investigate the increase in filings.
Folks who are worried about the security of their personal information can log onto the Georgia Tax Center and set a notification when a tax return has been filed with their Social Security number. The website is https://gtc.dor.ga.gov/
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