In an attempt to reduce taxpayer identity theft, the IRS and tax industry leaders have announced that they are testing more than twenty new data points on tax returns. These new measures will be used in 2016 to reduce the number of fraudulent refunds.
Last year, cyber-thieves stole approximately $39 million in federal refunds based on taxpayer information hacked from an IRS website. IRS and industry officials have agreed to strengthen validation requirements for new and returning taxpayers by toughening password standards and implementing other measures to guard against account hacking by criminals filing fraudulent federal tax returns.
How to Protect your Tax Refund
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide, and refund fraud caused by identity theft is one of the biggest challenges facing the IRS. Taxpayers can be victimized by identity theft involving their tax returns in several ways. One of the most prevalent tactic is when thieves file fraudlent refund claims using another person’s stolen identity information. Innocent taxpayers are harmed because their refunds are delayed. Below are some tips from the IRS on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:
- Don’t carry your Social Security card or any documents that include your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
- Don’t give a business your SSN or ITIN just because they ask. Give it only when required.
- Protect your financial information.
- Check your credit report every 12 months.
- Secure personal information in your home.
- Protect your personal computers. Follow the guidelines to using firewalls and anti-spam/virus software, updating security patches and changing passwords for Internet accounts.
- Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with.
Freeman Tax Law can Help with IRS Tax Identity Fraud
The IRS can be difficult to deal with, and it can be frustrating trying to work with them after identity theft has occurred. The Treasury Inspector General recently issued a report that it takes the IRS over nine months on average to resolve tax accounts that have been involved in identity theft. If you have been victimized by IRS tax thieves, or want to know best practices on preventing this from happening to you – please contact us. Our experienced staff of attorneys, accountants, and former IRS agents will help you resolve any issues you may have with the IRS.