Hold off on that vacation, new car, new home, or paying off your credit cards with that tax refund until Spring! South Carolina taxpayers won’t get their state income-tax refunds until after March 1, regardless of how early they file. The S.C. Department of Revenue is taking stricter measures to combat fraud, as many other agencies in the country are doing as well. There has been an increase in the number of fraudalent activity related to filing tax returns.The delay will give the agency time to verify income documents with the IRS and to make sure state returns are legitimate. While employers must send W-2 wage statements to employees by Jan. 31, those documents often don’t reach the IRS until weeks later. So, if you are an early filer, you will not have a jump on receiving your return earlier than those that file after March 1.

What is tax fraud? It basically means that someone steals another persons’ idenity information and a forged W-2 form to file a false return that generates a refund. Such fraud is at an all time high costing the government over 6 Billion annually. Other ways in which SC is combating fraud is to issue paper checks instead of direct deposit refunds. Most likely identity theives don’t have a photo ID or in some cases a bank account to cash a check. Another way they are dealing with fraud is requiring additional identifying information by mail like asking security questions of randomly selected taxpayers by telephone or computer, for example.

Income tax returns are due by April 18 this year……although there are always the late filers that may even file for extensions. I know a few of those!!