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Data breaches and concerns regarding tax ID theft

In recent years, the news has been full of reports of data breaches. So, data security and the risk of the theft of one’s personal information may be on the front of many people’s minds these days.

Given the major role personal information plays in the tax filing process, there are many concerns related to identity theft that people may have when it comes to taxes. Examples include concerns over:

  • How careful the Internal Revenue Service is with their data.
  • How vulnerable they are to tax ID fraud, such as an identity thief using their personal information to claim a false refund.
  • What steps the IRS is taking to protect taxpayer data and prevent things like tax ID fraud.
  • What impacts the data protection and tax fraud prevention steps the IRS is taking will have on taxpayers.

Recently, the head of the IRS made some comments related to identity theft issues. He noted that taxpayer reports of identity theft have actually been down as a late. He acknowledged the efforts that have been taken thus far in catching and preventing tax ID fraud. He also noted some of the steps that the IRS is planning to take on this front moving forward. These steps include:

  • Putting an increased focus on preventing tax ID fraud when it comes to business returns.
  • Continuing data sharing efforts within the Security Summit, a partnership the IRS has with states and tax professionals.
  • Expanding a pilot program regarding W-2 verification codes.

One wonders what effects upcoming efforts by the IRS when it comes preventing tax ID fraud will end up having. One hopes that, during the course of their efforts to protect taxpayers from identity theft, IRS officials take appropriate care to make sure such efforts don’t expose innocent taxpayers to unnecessary difficulties. When a taxpayer encounters difficulties with the IRS, skilled tax attorneys can provide them with information on their rights and guidance on how to respond.

Source: Federal News Radio, “After Equifax breach and ahead of 2018 filing season, IRS lays out plans to defend against tax frauds,” Meredith Somers, Oct. 17, 2017

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