It’s going to take a lot longer to get state tax refunds this year. Instead of the seven to 10 business days most people are used to, it could take six times as long.

Tax expert Buffie Purselle says she’s been fielding calls and emails from clients wondering when their refund is coming.

Gonzalo Ramos says he’s beyond frustrated. He filed his taxes weeks ago and is expecting $800 back from the state, but he’s still waiting.

“It’s unfortunate that I can’t get my money that I earned, you know? I have bills, people I have to take care of. I have to fix my car, everything just piles up at once and it seems like they don’t care,” Ramos said.

Purselle says the holdup is with the state.

“People are really upset, They’re like, ‘Did you do something wrong? Did you screw up my taxes?’ Because they’re used to getting their refunds within seven to 10 business days. And the state of Georgia is like, ‘We’re not releasing them for 30-45 days from the day that you filed it’ and that’s just totally abnormal,” she said.

According to the Georgia Department of Revenue, the delay is to protect you. They’re taking extra steps this year to prevent fraudulent returns from going through and that takes more time.

Last year the state blocked more than 65,000 returns, saving more than $312 million. This year it’s using a new fraud management system to block even more. But Purselle says there is a silver lining to the refund slowdown.

“Dealing with an identity theft issue could take over a year to get cleaned up so it’s in your best interest,” she said.

Ramos says there’s not much he can do now but wait.

“It’s really unfortunate that it has to be that way,” he said.

Purselle says the best way to avoid this problem going forward is to change your withholdings and get more of your money during the year, not just in a refund.

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