IRS Agrees To Share Copies Of Fake Tax Returns With Victims Of Identity Theft

After lawmakers called on the Internal Revenue Service for more transparency for victims of identity theft, the agency says it will give those people copies of fake tax returns filed using their name and information.

The IRS announced the change in a letter to Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who sent a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on May 7, asking that the agency hand over copies of fraudulent returns filed in their names so those people could determine exactly what information was stolen. The IRS recently said identity thieves had stolen information on more than 100,000 taxpayers from the IRS site itself and used that info to file about 13,000 fake tax returns, netting around $39 million in refunds.

“As a result of your letter, we have decided to change our policy regarding disclosure of fraudulent identity theft returns to victims whose name and SSN the fraudulent return was filed under,” Koskinen wrote in a response to Ayotte last week that’s just making the news rounds now.

“We will put together a procedure that will enable victims to receive, upon request, redacted copies of fraudulent returns filed in their name and Social Security number,” he wrote.

Ayotte’s concerns stem from increased fraudulent tax returns this year. Some victims reported being unable to find out how much of their personal data had been included on returns filed in their name. This includes the mother of a seven-year-old girl who had passed away after an auto accident, an article on Ayotte’s site says.

Upon discovering thieves had used her deceased daughter’s Social Security Number to file bogus tax returns, she says the IRS refused to share any information with her about it, so she contacted Ayotte’s office.

She says she’s hoping this isn’t all just words, and that something will actually come of it.

“I hope they are serious and really take to heart the effect this has on families, and that moving forward they make meaningful changes in their policies,” she told Ayotte’s office.

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