Report: IRS leaves out 500k ID theft victims

Report: IRS leaves out 500k ID theft victims

The IRS didn’t give more than half a million taxpayers that were victims of identity theft an identification number to smooth their filing process in 2013, according to an inspector general report released Tuesday.

The tax agency has made battling identity theft a top priority, after paying out more than an estimated $5 billion in fraudulent refunds in 2013.

As part of that battle, the IRS gives identity protection personal identification numbers known as IP PINs to identity theft victims, allowing the agency to verify a taxpayer and more quickly process their return. The IRS issued 1.2 million of those identification numbers in 2014, up from 770,000 the year before and roughly 250,000 in the 2012 filing season.

But Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration said in the new report that 532,637 taxpayers eligible for an identification number in 2013 didn’t receive one, because the IRS wasn’t wholly confident that the agency had the taxpayers’ correct address. Almost 25,000 other taxpayers who had their personal information lost or stolen from the IRS didn’t get the opportunity to get an identification number, the report said.

“Tax-related identity theft continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing the Federal system of tax administration,” Russell George, the tax administration inspector general, said in a statement. “It is incumbent upon the Internal Revenue Service to fully utilize all available tools in the fight against this fraudulent activity.” (The Hill)