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Monday, March 25, 2013 - 1:00am

Tax Deadline Approaches

Income tax returns are due in three weeks. It might take longer to get your state tax refund as Georgia continues to crack down on tax fraud.

Thieves will claim a big refund by filing a tax return with someone else’s name and social security number, said Bill Harshman, a certified public accountant with the firm Harshman, Phillips and Co. So, Harshman said, the state is being extra careful checking returns.

“What we are seeing are certain cases where refunds for legitimate, honest taxpayers are being delayed and initially denied,” he said.

Harshman also said to make sure you have receipts for any charitable donations greater than $250 dollars before you file. If you don’t, the IRS can refuse to grant you a tax exemption for the donation.

Accountants say they’re also warning clients about a big change to Georgia’s tax laws that took effect this month will have implications for tax returns next year.

Carlye Buchanan with Windham Branham said Georgia drivers right now can claim an income tax deduction for the annual ad valorem tax. But next year will be different for those who pay the new one-time title tax instead.

“This new car tag tax, that’s not deductible, that’s not an itemized deduction,” Buchanan said. “People don’t know that. So keep that in mind that you’re not going to get that deduction anymore.”

Car owners will pay the new title tax when they purchase a vehicle. Those who bought one in 2012 get to pick whether to pay the one-time tax or the annual so-called “birthday tax.”

Listen above for more tax advice from Buchanan and Harshman.