IRS Aims High to Crack Down on Identity Theft
by Ken Berry on
By Ken Berry
The IRS is ramping up its efforts to crack down on personal identity thefts involving illegally procured tax return information.
As part of a comprehensive plan to detect and deter identification theft, the IRS is implementing a new pilot program in conjunction with the state of Florida. It expects this to be the initial step in coordinating efforts with local law enforcement officials. The IRS will forward the pertinent tax return records to the police so they can pursue criminal investigations and prosecutions. No information will be disclosed without the taxpayer's consent.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Florida leads the nation in identity theft cases. Legislators in the Sunshine State have been lobbying the IRS to provide a ray of hope against this ever-growing problem.
"Law enforcement officials will need to contact the identity theft victims in order to request and secure the victims' consent for disclosure of the records," the IRS said in a formal statement. "In certain instances, the IRS will assist law enforcement in locating taxpayers and soliciting their consent."
The IRS has devised a new disclosure form to be used specifically for this purpose. The information gathered will be shared by the appropriate crime units of the IRS and participating Florida law enforcement officers.
According to an IRS statement, "The documents will not be sent directly to the taxpayer. However, the IRS will continue to work directly with taxpayers to clean up their tax accounts as quickly as possible, and the victims do not need a copy of the falsely filed documents to complete that process."
After an undetermined time, the IRS will analyze the results of the program and determine how to proceed.
But this isn't the only initiative on its launching pad.
"The IRS comprehensive identity theft strategy comprises a dual effort, focusing both on fraud prevention and victim assistance. On the prevention side, this means implementing new processes for handling returns, new filters to detect fraud, new initiatives to partner with stakeholders, and a continued commitment to investigate the criminals who perpetrate these crimes. As for victim assistance, the IRS is working to speed up case resolution, provide more training for our employees who assist victims of identity theft, and step up outreach to [educate] taxpayers so they can prevent and resolve tax-related identity theft issues quickly."
More details about the IRS' efforts concerning identification theft are available on its website. Victims of suspicious activities are encouraged to contact the IRS.
You may like these other stories...
IRS audits less than 1 percent of big partnershipsAccording to an April 17 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the IRS audits fewer than 1 percent of large business partnerships, Stephen Ohlemacher of the...
Legislation coming out of Washington just might reduce homeowners' burden for disaster insurance. It's a topic very much on everyone's minds since the mudslide in Oso, Washington. The loss of human life was...
Divorce is hard, and the IRS isn't going to make it any easier. The IRS generally says "no" to tax deductions that might ease the pain of divorce. In certain circumstances, however, you might be able to salvage...
Upcoming CPE Webinars
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.
During the second session of a four-part series on Individual Leadership, the focus will be on time management- a critical success factor for effective leadership. Each person has 24 hours of time to spend each day; the key is making wise investments and knowing what investments yield the greatest return.