IRS Tax News

  • 02 Feb 2017 2:46 PM | Anonymous

    IRS YouTube Videos:

    WASHINGTON —Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, remain on the annual "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams for the 2017 filing season, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.

    During filing season, the IRS generally sees a surge in scam phone calls that threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of con games that arise at any time and pick up during tax season.

    "Don't be fooled by surprise phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents with threats or promises of a big refund if you provide them with your private information," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "If you're surprised to get a call from the IRS, it almost certainly isn't the real IRS. We generally initially contact taxpayers by mail."

    The Dirty Dozen is compiled annually by the IRS and lists a variety of common scams taxpayers may encounter any time during the year. Many of these con games peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns or hire someone to do so.

    The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reports they have become aware of over 10,000 victims who have collectively paid over $54 million as a result of phone scams since October 2013.

    "Everyone can share the word about scam phone calls-- just hang up and don't engage these people," Koskinen said. “Despite recent successes against phone scam artists, these scams constantly evolve and people need to remain vigilant. We’d like to thank law-enforcement, tax professionals, consumer advocates, the states, other government agencies, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and many others for helping us continue this fight and protect taxpayers."

    How do the scams work?

    Scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a wire transfer or a prepaid debit card or gift card, like an iTunes card. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email.

    Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the driver’s license of their victim if they don’t get the money.

    Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS employee titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

    The IRS also reminded taxpayers today that scammers change tactics. Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers, but variations of the IRS impersonation scam continue year-round and they tend to peak when scammers find prime opportunities to strike.

    Here are some things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

    The IRS will never:

    • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
    • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
    • Demand that taxes be paid without giving  the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
    • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

    For taxpayers who don’t owe taxes or don’t think they do:

    For those who owe taxes or think they do:

    Stay alert to scams that use the IRS as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more, visit “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” on IRS.gov.

    Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore these rights and the agency’s obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

  • 02 Feb 2017 2:38 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry issued an urgent alert today to all employers that the Form W-2 email phishing scam has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits.

    In a related development, the W-2 scammers are coupling their efforts to steal employee W-2 information with an older scheme on wire transfers that is victimizing some organizations twice.

    “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. We need everyone’s help to turn the tide against this scheme,’’ said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

    When employers report W-2 thefts immediately to the IRS, the agency can take steps to help protect employees from tax-related identity theft. The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, working together as the Security Summit, have enacted numerous safeguards in 2016 and 2017 to identify fraudulent returns filed through scams like this. As the Summit partners make progress, cybercriminals need more data to mimic real tax returns.

    Here’s how the scam works: Cybercriminals use various spoofing techniques to disguise an email to make it appear as if it is from an organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources departments, requesting a list of all employees and their Forms W-2.  This scam is sometimes referred to as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES).

    The Security Summit partners urge all employers to be vigilant. The W-2 scam, which first appeared last year, is circulating earlier in the tax season and to a broader cross-section of organizations, including school districts, tribal casinos, chain restaurants, temporary staffing agencies, healthcare and shipping and freight. Those businesses that received the scam email last year also are reportedly receiving it again this year.

    Security Summit partners warned of this scam’s reappearance last week but have seen an upswing in reports in recent days.

    New Twist to W-2 Scam: Companies Also Being Asked to Wire Money

    In the latest twist, the cybercriminal follows up with an “executive” email to the payroll or comptroller and asks that a wire transfer also be made to a certain account. Although not tax related, the wire transfer scam is being coupled with the W-2 scam email, and some companies have lost both employees’ W-2s and thousands of dollars due to wire transfers.

    The IRS, states and tax industry urge all employers to share information with their payroll, finance and human resources employees about this W-2 and wire transfer scam. Employers should consider creating an internal policy, if one is lacking, on the distribution of employee W-2 information and conducting wire transfers.

    Steps Employers Can Take If They See the W-2 Scam

    Organizations receiving a W-2 scam email should forward it to phishing@irs.gov and place “W2 Scam” in the subject line. Organizations that receive the scams or fall victim to them should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3,) operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    Employees whose Forms W-2 have been stolen should review the recommended actions by the Federal Trade Commission at www.identitytheft.gov or the IRS at www.irs.gov/identitytheft. Employees should file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if the employee’s own tax return gets rejected because of a duplicate Social Security number or if instructed to do so by the IRS.

    The W-2 scam is just one of several new variations that have appeared in the past year that focus on the large-scale thefts of sensitive tax information from tax preparers, businesses and payroll companies. Individual taxpayers also can be targets of phishing scams, but cybercriminals seem to have evolved their tactics to focus on mass data thefts.

    Be Safe Online

    In addition to avoiding email scams during the tax season, taxpayers and tax preparers should be leery of using search engines to find technical help with taxes or tax software. Selecting the wrong “tech support” link could lead to a loss of data or an infected computer. Also, software “tech support” will not call users randomly. This is a scam.

    Taxpayers searching for a paid tax professional for tax help can use the IRS Choosing a Tax Professional lookup tool or if taxpayers need free help they can review the Free Tax Return Preparation Programs. Taxpayers searching for tax software can use Free File, which offers 12 brand-name products for free, at www.irs.gov/freefile. Taxpayer or tax preparers looking for tech support for their software products should go directly to the provider’s web page.

    Tax professionals also should beware of ongoing scams related to IRS e-Services. Thieves are trying to use IRS efforts to make e-Services more secure to send emails asking e-Services users to update their accounts. Their objective is to steal e-Services users’ credentials to access these important services.

  • 25 Jan 2017 5:11 PM | Anonymous

    IRS YouTube Video

    Claiming EITC or ACTC? Your Refund May Be Delayed: English | Spanish | ASL

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service wants working grandparents raising grandchildren to be aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and correctly claim it if they qualify. 

    The EITC is a federal income tax credit for workers who don't earn a high income ($53,505 or less for 2016) and meet certain eligibility requirements. Because it’s a refundable credit, those who qualify and claim the credit could pay less federal tax, pay no tax or even get a tax refund. The EITC could put an extra $2 or up to $6,269 into a taxpayer’s pocket.

    Grandparents and other relatives care for millions of children, but are often not aware that they could claim the children under their care for the EITC. A grandparent who is working and has a grandchild who is a qualifying child living with him or her may qualify for the EITC, even if the grandparent is 65 years of age or older. Generally, to be a qualified child for EITC purposes, the grandchild must meet the dependency requirements.

    Special rules and restrictions apply if the child’s parents or other family members also qualify for the EITC. Details including numerous helpful examples can be found in Publication 596, available on IRS.gov. There are also special rules, described in the publication, for individuals receiving disability benefits and members of the military.

    Working grandparents are encouraged to find out, not guess, if they qualify for this very important credit. To qualify for EITC, the taxpayer must have earned income either from a job or from self-employment and meet basic rules. Also, certain disability payments may qualify as earned income for EITC purposes. EITC eligibility also depends on family size. The IRS recommends using the EITC Assistant, on IRS.gov, to determine eligibility, estimate the amount of credit and more.

    Eligible taxpayers must file a tax return, even if they do not owe any tax or are not required to file. Qualified taxpayers should consider claiming the EITC by filing electronically: through a qualified tax professional; using free community tax help sites; or doing it themselves with IRS Free File.

    Many EITC filers will get their refunds later this year than in past years. That’s because a new law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the EITC and the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. The IRS cautions taxpayers that these refunds likely will not start arriving in bank accounts or on debit cards until the week of Feb. 27. Taxpayers claiming the EITC or ACTC should file as soon as they have all of the necessary documentation together to prepare an accurate return. In other words, file as they normally would.

    The IRS and partners nationwide will hold the annual EITC Awareness Day on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 to alert millions of workers who may be missing out on this significant tax credit and other refundable credits. One easy way to support this outreach effort is by participating on the IRS Thunderclap to help promote #EITCAwarenessDay through social media. For more information on EITC and other refundable credits, visit the EITC page on IRS.gov.

  • 24 Jan 2017 10:43 AM | Anonymous

    IRS YouTube Videos

    • When Will I Get My Refund: English | Spanish
    • Claiming EITC or ACTC? Your refund may be delayed: English
    • Welcome to Free File: English
    • Security Summit Identity Theft Tips Overview:English

    WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service said today that it successfully started accepting and processing 2016 federal individual income tax returns on schedule. More than 153 million returns are expected to be filed this year.

    People have until Tuesday, April 18, 2017 to file their 2016 returns and pay any taxes due. The deadline is later this year due to several factors. The usual April 15 deadline falls on Saturday this year, which would normally give taxpayers until at least the following Monday. However, Emancipation Day, a D.C. holiday, is observed on Monday, April 17, giving taxpayers nationwide an additional day to file. By law, D.C. holidays impact tax deadlines for everyone in the same way federal holidays do. Taxpayers requesting an extension will have until Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 to file.

    "Following months of hard work, we successfully opened our processing systems today to start this year’s tax season,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Getting to this point is a year-round effort for the IRS and the nation’s tax community. The dedicated employees of the IRS look forward to serving taxpayers this filing season, and I want to thank all of the tax and payroll community for their hard work that makes tax time smoother for the nation.”

    The IRS expects more than 70 percent of taxpayers to get tax refunds this year. Last year, 111 million refunds were issued, with an average refund of $2,860.

    Refund Delays

    A law change now requires the IRS to hold refunds on tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15. Under this change required by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS must hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC and ACTC. Even though the IRS will begin releasing EITC and ACTC refunds on Feb. 15, many early filers will still not have actual access to their refunds until the week of Feb. 27. The additional delay is due to several factors, including weekends, the Presidents Day holiday and the time banks often need to process direct deposits.

    This law change gives the IRS more time to detect and prevent fraud. Beyond the EITC and ACTC refunds and the additional security safeguards, the IRS anticipates issuing more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. However, it’s possible a particular return may require additional review and take longer. Taxpayers are reminded that state tax agencies have their own refund processing timeframes that vary, and some states may make additional reviews to ensure their refunds are being issued properly. Even so, taxpayers should file as usual, and tax return preparers should submit returns as they normally do.

    Use e-File and Free File

    The IRS expects more than 80 percent of returns to be filed electronically. Choosing e-file and direct deposit remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund.

    The IRS Free File program, available at IRS.gov, gives eligible taxpayers a dozen options for brand-name products. Free File is a partnership with commercial partners offering free brand-name software to about 100 million individuals and families with incomes of $64,000 or less. Seventy percent of the nation’s taxpayers are eligible for IRS Free File. People who earned more than $64,000 may use Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms.

    Protecting Taxpayers from Identity Theft-Related Refund Fraud

    The IRS continues to work with state tax authorities and the tax industry to address tax-related identity theft and refund fraud. As part of the Security Summit effort, stronger protections for taxpayers and the nation’s tax system are in effect for the 2017 tax filing season.

    The new measures attack tax-related identity theft from multiple sides. Many changes will be invisible to taxpayers but will help the IRS, states and the tax industry provide new protections. New security requirements will better protect tax software accounts and personal information. 

    Renew ITIN to Avoid Refund Delays

    Many Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) expired on Jan. 1, 2017. This includes any ITIN not used on a tax return at least once in the past three years. Also now expired is any ITIN with middle digits of either 78 or 79 (Example: 9NN-78-NNNN or 9NN-79-NNNN). Affected taxpayers should act soon to avoid refund delays and possible loss of eligibility for some key tax benefits until the ITIN is renewed. An ITIN is used by anyone who has tax-filing or payment obligations under U.S. tax law but is not eligible for a Social Security number.

    It can take up to 11 weeks to process a complete and accurate ITIN renewal application. For that reason, the IRS urges anyone with an expired ITIN needing to file a return this tax season to submit their ITIN renewal application soon.

    New AGI requirement for e-file

    All taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return. Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a tax filing software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return.

    Free Tax Help

    Low- and moderate-income taxpayers can get help filing their tax return for free. More than 90,000 volunteers around the country can help people correctly complete their return.

    To get this filing help, taxpayers can visit one of the more than 12,000 community-based tax help sites that participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs. To find the nearest site, use the VITA/TCE Site Locator on IRS.gov or the IRS2Go mobile app.

    Filing Assistance

    The IRS reminds taxpayers that a trusted tax professional can provide helpful information about the tax laws. A number of tips about selecting a preparer and information about national tax professional groups are available on IRS.gov.

    The IRS urges all taxpayers to make sure they have all their year-end statements in hand before filing. This includes Forms W-2 from employers and Forms 1099 from banks and other payers. Doing so will help avoid refund delays and the need to file an amended return.

    Online tools

    Many tax issues can now be resolved online or by phone from the convenience of a home or office. The IRS urges taxpayers to take advantage of the many tools and other resources available on IRS.gov. IRS phone lines will be busy again this year, so in order to save time, people should first visit the IRS website for tax assistance.


  • 11 Jan 2017 1:24 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and tax industry leaders today warned tax professionals to be alert to an email scam from cybercriminals posing as clients soliciting their services.

    A new variation of this phishing scheme is targeting accounting and tax preparation firms nationwide. The scheme's objective is to collect sensitive information that will allow fraudsters to prepare fraudulent tax returns.

    These latest phishing emails come in typically two stages. The first email is the solicitation, which asks tax professionals questions such as "I need a preparer to file my taxes." If the tax professional responds, the cybercriminal sends a second email. This second email typically has either an embedded web address or contains a PDF attachment that has an embedded web address.

    In some cases, the phishing emails may appear to come from a legitimate sender or organization (perhaps even a friend or colleague) because they also have been victimized. Fraudsters have taken over their accounts to send phishing emails.

    The tax professional may think they are downloading a potential client's tax information or accessing a site with the potential client's tax information. In reality, the cybercriminals are collecting the preparer's email address and password and possibly other information.

    The IRS urges tax professionals and tax preparation firms to consider creating internal policies or obtain security experts' recommendations on how to address unsolicited emails seeking their services.

    One tip: Never respond to or click on a link in an unsolicited email or PDF attachment from an unknown sender. As the IRS, states and the tax industry make progress in the fight against identity theft, cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their efforts to steal additional client information. Criminals need more data in their effort to impersonate clients and file fraudulent returns to claim refunds, and schemes like this can help in this effort.

    Read more at Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself, the Security Summit initiative to increase awareness about the tax professional community.


  • 30 Dec 2016 4:07 PM | Anonymous

    CE providers were generally unable to transmit CE records to the IRS between Sept. 14 and Dec. 30 while we transitioned to a new CE provider reporting system. The new reporting system has now launched and CE credits are being added to accounts daily. PTIN holders are encouraged to check their online accounts regularly for the latest information regarding their CE credits.

    PTIN holders who want to participate in the Annual Filing Season Program once their CE is reflected in their accounts can view a video here to see how to sign the Circular 230 consent and receive a Record of Completion. The consent must be signed by April 18, 2017, in order to participate for 2017.


  • 14 Dec 2016 9:09 AM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

    Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

    • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
    • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
    • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

    The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.   The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

    Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

    A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

    These and other requirements are described in Rev. Proc. 2010-51. Notice 2016-79, posted today on IRS.gov, contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.


  • 04 Nov 2016 2:59 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today issued an urgent alert to tax professionals who use IRS e-services to beware of an email asking them to update their accounts and directing them to a fake website.

    The subject line for the fraudulent email is “Security Awareness for Tax Professionals.” The “From” line is “Your e-Services Team.” It has both an IRS logo and an e-services logo that hyperlinks to a URL verified as a phishing site. The spoofing site poses as an e-services registration page.

    The scammers are attempting to exploit current IRS efforts to strengthen the e-services authentication process and its ongoing communications with tax professionals about their accounts. Scammers are attempting to steal e-services usernames and passwords or additional personal data through a registration page.

    If e-services users have already clicked on the fake logo and provided their username and password, they should contact the e-services help desk to reset their accounts. If the same password is used for other accounts, these should be changed as well. As an extra precaution, users should perform a deep security scan on their computers, re-evaluate their security controls and be alert to any other signs of identity theft or data compromise.

    Tax professionals should always go directly to IRS.gov to access e-services and never click on any links provided in emails.

    Tax professionals who receive a suspicious email should send it as an attachment to Phishing@irs.gov and then delete it. Recipients should not click on any links.

    The scammer email tells recipients that information was stolen from certain user accounts in 2015 from a state-sponsored actor. It says users are being asked to upgrade their e-service account to ensure protection of their information. It asks them to click on the login to access their accounts for security upgrade.

    The IRS is in the process of upgrading e-services security and has been in communication with tax professionals about updating their accounts.

    The IRS, state tax agencies and tax industry partners working together through the Security Summit have an awareness campaign underway called Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself. The objective is to remind tax professionals they increasingly are the targets of identity thieves seeking ever larger amounts of taxpayer data to file fraudulent tax returns.

    Security Summit partners recommend tax professionals:

    • Always use robust security software
    • Use encryption software to protect taxpayer data
    • Use strong passwords and change them often
    • Learn to recognize phishing emails attempting to steal data
    • Never click on links or download attachments from suspicious emails
    • Beware of any communications claiming to be the IRS that are outside normal channels

    Review Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself for various steps you can take to protect your customers’ information and your business. 


  • 03 Nov 2016 2:57 PM | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and industry partners today finalized plans for 2017 to improve identity theft protections for individual and business taxpayers after making significant inroads this year against fraudulent returns.

    Public and private sector leaders announced today that their collective efforts through the Security Summit initiative have led to a marked improvement in the battle against identity theft during 2016. This is highlighted by the number of new people reporting stolen identities on federal tax returns falling by more than 50 percent, with nearly 275,000 fewer victims compared to a year ago.

    At a Washington press conference, Summit leaders also detailed new and expanded safeguards for taxpayers in the upcoming 2017 tax season. The 2017 focus revolves around “trusted customer” features that will help ensure the authenticity of the taxpayer and the tax return - before, during and after a tax return is filed. The additional protections will build on the 2016 successes that prevented fraudulent returns and protected tax refunds.

    “We’ve made remarkable progress this year in our efforts to protect taxpayers following the unprecedented coordination with the states, the tax industry and the financial sector,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Working together, this coalition has expanded its activities in many different areas, and we are focused on strengthening our systems and processes even more for the upcoming tax season.”

    “It is gratifying to see how many different ways we have already identified and begun to implement changes,” said Dawn Cash, Commissioner, Oklahoma Tax Commission and President, Board of Trustees of the Federation of Tax Administrators. “Taxpayers in states across the country are benefiting from this important work.”

    Summit Helps Produce Successes in 2016 Against Identity Theft; Victims Down by Half

    Security Summit initiatives put in place in 2016 had a dramatic impact on the collective ability to identify and stop fraudulent returns. Key IRS statistics show decreases because Summit efforts were successful at preventing fraudulent returns from entering tax processing systems. This meant fewer bad returns, fewer bad refunds and fewer taxpayers becoming victims.

    Among the examples seen by the IRS:

    • Identity theft affidavits fell sharply. The number of people who filed affidavits with the IRS saying they were victims of identity theft dropped 50 percent during the first nine months of this year compared to 2015. The number of new affidavits filed fell to 237,750 compared to 512,278 for the first nine months of 2015.
    • More fraudulent returns stopped before processing. IRS statistics show a nearly 50 percent drop in the number of fraudulent returns that made it into the IRS tax processing systems– another sign the Summit efforts are working up front in the tax process. Through September of this year, the IRS stopped 787,000 confirmed identity theft returns, totaling more than $4 billion. For the same nine-month period in 2015, the IRS stopped 1.2 million confirmed identity theft returns, totaling about $7.2 billion.
    • Fraudulent refunds fell. The number of bank partners grew to 620 institutions from 514 institutions in 2015, enabling internal processes to continue improving. The number of suspect refunds stopped by banks and returned to the IRS dropped by more than 50 percent, to 108,539 in 2016 compared to 243,361 in 2015, demonstrating our improved ability to stop fraudulent returns before refunds are paid. The dollar amount of suspect refunds dropped to $239 million from $829 million in 2015.
    • Shared information stopped more bad returns. Industry and state partners provided information that helped improve IRS fraud filters and stop additional bad tax returns, including 57,000 that would have bypassed IRS processing filters without Summit assistance.
    • Shared data elements helped identify new areas. Several new data elements shared on tax returns from Summit partners helped the IRS stop over 74,000 suspicious returns, representing over $372 million in refunds that were prevented from being paid.

    “We've come a long way in a short time following the creation of the Security Summit,” Koskinen said. “But much more work remains to be done, and the partnership has agreed to take even more steps to protect taxpayers in 2017.”

    More Steps Planned for 2017 Tax Season

    For the 2017 filing season, the IRS and Summit partners will take additional actions. As with 2016, many of the new features will not be visible to taxpayers but will provide the IRS and states with the information they need to identify and stop fraudulent identity theft returns.

    Among the new or expanded features for 2017 that will protect taxpayers and the tax system:

    • New data elements transmitted by the tax industry with every tax return have been updated and expanded. In all, 37 new data elements will be added for 2017, providing additional information to strengthen the authentication that a tax return is being filed by the real taxpayer.
    • The tax industry will share with the IRS and states 32 data elements from business tax returns – extending more identity theft protections to business filers as well as individuals.
    • 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 taxpayer accounts. Also, private sector partners are enhancing efforts to identify the “ultimate bank account” to ensure that the refunds go into the true taxpayers’ accounts – not fraudsters.
    • The Form W-2 Verification Code initiative started by the IRS last year will expand to 50 million forms in 2017 from 2 million in 2016. When completing a tax return, the 16-digit verification code should be entered when prompted by tax software used by both individuals and tax professionals to validate the information on the Form W-2. The IRS anticipates the verification code will be expanded in future years for all Forms W-2.
    • The software industry will continue to enhance software password requirements for individuals and tax professional users – providing additional safety prior to filing.

    Taken together, these “trusted customer” features will help the IRS and states do an even better job of detecting fraudulent returns and protecting taxpayers.

    As part of that effort, the Summit partners will launch a new Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or ISAC. This project, in its initial stages for 2017, will serve as an improved early warning system – identifying emerging identity theft schemes and quickly sharing that information among Summit partners so that all of the participants can enact safeguards.

    Summit partners believe an ISAC ultimately promises significant gains in detecting and preventing identity theft refund fraud and will provide better data to law enforcement to investigate and prosecute identity thieves. This effort will provide all Summit partners with a threat assessment capability, early warnings about problems and insights about identity theft fraud schemes through nimble and agile information sharing.

    Education Campaign Continues for Taxpayers, Tax Professionals

    The Security Summit will continue its campaigns to increase awareness about data security to both taxpayers and tax preparers. Last year, the Summit partners launched the “Taxes.Security. Together.” campaign to encourage taxpayers to take greater data security precautions and to learn how to recognize and avoid phishing emails that seek to trick people into providing sensitive data such as Social Security or credit card numbers.

    This year, the Summit partners expanded the campaign to include tax professionals, who increasingly are being targeted by criminal syndicates. Summit partners initiated a new campaign called “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself” and urge tax professionals to use the best security practices available. Tax professionals should review Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, to see an action check-list for ensuring data security.

    As tax season approaches, the IRS and Summit partners will share more tips for tax professionals in upcoming weeks. And for taxpayers, the “Taxes.Security.Together” campaign will resume for a second year in the weeks leading up to the opening of the 2017 filing season in January with important information that taxpayers can use to protect their sensitive taxpayer and financial data.


  • 28 Oct 2016 3:23 PM | Anonymous

    IR-2016-143, Oct. 28, 2016

    WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminded employers and small businesses of a new Jan. 31 filing deadline for Forms W-2. The IRS must also hold some refunds until Feb. 15.

    A new federal law, aimed at making it easier for the IRS to detect and prevent refund fraud, will accelerate the W-2 filing deadline for employers to Jan. 31. For similar reasons, the new law also requires the IRS to hold refunds involving two key refundable tax credits until at least Feb. 15. Here are details on each of these key dates.

    New Jan. 31 Deadline for Employers

    The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, enacted last December, includes a new requirement for employers. They are now required to file their copies of Form W-2, submitted to the Social Security Administration, by Jan. 31. The new Jan. 31 filing deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC reporting non-employee compensation such as payments to independent contractors.

    In the past, employers typically had until the end of February, if filing on paper, or the end of March, if filing electronically, to submit their copies of these forms. In addition, there are changes in requesting an extension to file the Form W-2. Only one 30-day extension to file Form W-2 is available and this extension is not automatic. If an extension is necessary, a Form 8809 Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns must be completed as soon as you know an extension is necessary, but by January 31. Please carefully review the instructions for Form 8809, for more information.

    "As tax season approaches, the IRS wants to be sure employers, especially smaller businesses, are aware of these new deadlines," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "We are working with the payroll community and other partners to share this information widely."

    The new accelerated deadline will help the IRS improve its efforts to spot errors on returns filed by taxpayers. Having these W-2s and 1099s earlier will make it easier for the IRS to verify the legitimacy of tax returns and properly issue refunds to taxpayers eligible to receive them. In many instances, this will enable the IRS to release tax refunds more quickly than in the past.

    The Jan. 31 deadline has long applied to employers furnishing copies of these forms to their employees and that date remains unchanged.

    Some Refunds Delayed Until at Least Feb. 15

    Due to the PATH Act change, some people will get their refunds a little later. The new law requires the IRS to hold the refund for any tax return claiming either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until Feb. 15. By law, the IRS must hold the entire refund, not just the portion related to the EITC or ACTC.

    Even with this change, taxpayers should file their returns as they normally do. Whether or not claiming the EITC or ACTC, the IRS cautions taxpayers not to count on getting a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying other financial obligations. Though the IRS issues more than nine out 10 refunds in less than 21 days, some returns are held for further review.


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