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Monday, June 11, 2012 - 2:49pm

A New Program Flags Over 40,000 Tax Returns

It’s getting harder for identity thieves to steal money from the state Department of Revenue. A new computer program targeting tax fraud has flagged over 40-thousand returns since January.

Revenue Commissioner Doug MacGinnitie says the LexisNexis Tax Refund Investigative Solution could save the state from incorrectly distributing $20 million dollars. He says officials are focusing on criminal operations.

“ (They) buy lists or find lists of names and social security numbers, they file hundreds if not thousands of returns. And their game is, they don’t have to get every return through to make a lot of money.”

Once a return is flagged, the state requires the filer to answer questions to make sure they’re who they say they are.

Brad Dickson, tax principal for Windham Brannon in Atlanta, says they’ve had some clients whose return was wrongly flagged.

“Some people may actually fail the identity quiz because they can’t remember a personal fact that’s been associated with them and that could be normal also.”

MacGinnitie says they are working on reducing the number of false positives.

He would also like to see more arrests.

“We’ve gotten up the curve a little bit at blocking the fraudulent activity. Now we need to work farther up the curve on getting these folks. And it’s not easy because anybody with a computer and an internet connection can file a tax return.”

Georgia is one of three states using the new program.