IRS Caught Over 30,000 Tax Returns Involving ID Theft

IRS Caught Over 30,000 Tax Returns Involving ID Theft

The Internal Revenue Service’s expanded use of controls this tax season to identify fraudulent refund claims before accepting them into its processing system has allowed the IRS to identify approximately 35,000 fraudulent e-filed tax returns and 741 paper tax returns as of Feb. 29, 2016, according to a new government report.

The report, from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, said the IRS also identified and confirmed 31,578 fraudulent tax returns involving identity theft as of Feb. 29, 2016, and identified 20,224 prisoner tax returns for screening as of March 5, 2016.

TIGTA released its annual interim report Thursday on the IRS’s performance during tax-filing season, defined as the period from January 1 through mid-April. TIGTA plans to issue the final results of its analysis of the 2016 filing season in September.

The report acknowledged the IRS was challenged by Congress’s late passage of legislation last December extending a number of expired tax provisions. To reduce the impact on the filing season, the IRS monitored the status of the legislation and took steps to implement the extension of these provisions prior to their enactment. These efforts enabled the IRS to begin accepting and processing individual tax returns on Jan. 19, 2016, as originally scheduled.

As of March 4, 2016, the IRS received approximately 67 million tax returns, of which 62.6 million (93.9 percent) were filed electronically and 4 million (6.1 percent) were filed on paper. The IRS has issued 53.5 million refunds totaling more than $160 billion. 

In addition, as of Feb. 25, 2016, the IRS processed 1.4 million tax returns that reported $4.4 billion in Premium Tax Credits that were either received in advance or claimed at the time of filing. More than 2.7 million taxpayers reported shared responsibility payments totaling $1 billion for not maintaining required health insurance coverage.

As of March 5, 2016, approximately 46.1 million taxpayers contacted the IRS by calling the agency’s various Customer Account Services function’s toll-free telephone assistance lines. IRS assistors have answered 7.3 million calls and provided a 72.8 percent level of service, with a 9.6 minute average speed of answering calls.  Read more on Accounting Today.