Still waiting for a Georgia tax refund? The end is in sight

If you’re still waiting for a state income tax refund, you probably won’t have to wait much longer.

The Georgia Department of Revenue said Wednesday that only about 1 percent of Georgians are still waiting for their checks – that’s roughly 100,000 people.

The department slowed refunds in February as the state implemented a new fraud management system that increased scrutiny of returns because of an Internal Revenue Service breach.

The new $1.2 million system analyzes each individual tax return as it arrives, holding any with irregularities for further review. Josh Waites, director of the state department’s special investigations unit, said many of the refunds still pending are likely being investigated for problems.

The system has already blocked about 1,900 fraudulent returns that saved an estimated $17 million, and it still has tens of thousands to review. Compare that to last year, when some 75,000 returns were blocked for $19 million.

“It’s already paying dividends,” he said. “And what that tells me is that quite a bit of what we have remaining is going to be fraud.”