The IRS and its Security Summit partners finalized plans on November 3, 2016, to improve identity theft protections in 2017 after the significant success of its 2016 program (and in spite of a growing number of scams). In the first nine months of the current year, identity theft victim claims dropped 50 percent, as compared to 2015. The number of fraudulent returns stopped by the IRS' tax processing systems increased, derailing 787,000 attempts at identity theft return filing, and stopping nearly $600 million more in fraudulent refunds from being paid out to scammers as compared to the previous year.
Taxpayers and tax professionals across the U.S. are being targeted by yet another scam. The Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners recently issued a warning regarding fake e-mails purporting to contain an IRS tax bill related to the Affordable Care Act. The scam has already been reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for investigation.
The Security Summit, a partnership between the IRS, state tax agencies, and private-sector tax industry executives, met on June 28, 2016 to review its first-year successes and strategize for 2017. The Summit focused on improving authentication procedures, information sharing, cybersecurity, and public outreach to help keep taxpayers' data and money safe.
The Internal Revenue Service has been cracking down on refund fraud and identity theft through the Security Summit initiative and its Criminal Investigation (CI) work. In fiscal year 2015, CI initiated 776 identity theft investigations, which led to 774 sentencings. Individuals found guilty of this type of crime face significant jail time. The average sentence in FY 2015 was 38 months, while the longest sentence was for more than 27 years.