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IRS, Tax Industry, and States Expand Identity Safeguards for 2017 Filing Season

November 16, 2016


The IRS along with representatives of the tax software industry and state tax agencies met on November 3, 2016 in Washington D.C. to finalize their plans to help combat tax identity theft and protect the nation’s taxpayers from identity theft fraud for the upcoming 2017 filing season.

CrossLink continues to participate in this effort and looks forward to being part of the continuing partnership with other tax industry companies, the IRS, and states to help combat the growing impact of identity theft to the federal and state tax systems.

This ground-breaking Security Summit partnership first gathered in 2015 as the IRS, state tax agencies, and the tax software industry sought to counter increasingly sophisticated criminal enterprises that were amassing massive amounts of personal data stolen elsewhere and using that data to prepare fraudulent tax returns.

For the upcoming filing season, the IRS, states, and the tax software industry will be adding additional safeguards to help improve the authentication procedures for tax returns, enhance information sharing between all Summit partners to improve fraud detection, improve cybersecurity, and continue education and outreach to the public and tax preparers.

A few of the Security Summit initiatives for the upcoming 2017 filing season are:

  • Enhance tax software password requirements for individuals and professional tax software users.
  • Put major emphasis on outreach and education to the tax preparer community through the “Protect Yourself; Protect Your Clients” campaign. This effort is designed to inform tax preparers what they need to do to protect their computer systems from cyberattacks and to safeguard taxpayer data.
  • Identifying additional data elements from individual tax returns that will help improve authentication of the taxpayer and identify possible identity theft scams.
  • Expanding the sharing of data elements to include business tax returns which will help to protect business tax return filers from becoming the victims of tax identity theft.
  • Expanding the W-2 Verification Code initiative to cover approximately 50 million 2016 Form W-2s. The selected W-2s will contain a 16-digit code that taxpayers and tax preparers will enter in their tax software. The code will help validate not only the taxpayer’s identity but also the information on the form.
  • Launching the Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Information Sharing & Analysis Center (IDTTRF-ISAC). This will serve as the early warning system for partners – collecting and analyzing tax-related identity theft schemes.
  • More than 20 states are working with the financial services industry to create their own version of a program that allows the industry to flag suspicious refunds before they are deposited into bank accounts.

To learn more about this ongoing IRS, tax industry, and state collaborative effort to fight identity theft and protect taxpayers, see the following on the IRS website:

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