The IRS has joined with representatives of the software industry, tax preparation firms, payroll and tax financial product processors and state tax administrators to combat identity theft refund fraud to protect the nation's taxpayers.
Key IRS Identity Theft Indicators Continue Dramatic Decline in 2017; Security Summit Continues Progress
The Internal Revenue Service announced steep declines in tax-related identity theft in 2017 following the success of the Security Summit effort. Key indicators of identity theft dropped for the second year in a row in 2017. This includes a 40 percent decline in taxpayers reporting they are victims of identity theft in 2016. Since 2015, the number of tax-related identity theft victims has fallen by almost two-thirds and billions of dollars of taxpayer refunds have been protected.
Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud - Information Sharing and Analysis Center
In 2016, Security Summit partners agreed there was a need for a formal public-private partnership where sharing could take place in a collaborative environment based on partner-agreed rules.
In 2017, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry created a public/private partnership, to facilitate information sharing consistent with applicable law, and analytics necessary to detect, prevent, and deter activities related to stolen identity refund fraud.
The ISAC’s purpose is to:
- Facilitate information exchange for tax administration purposes related to identity theft tax refund fraud.
- Provide a forum for participants to discuss real-time responses to such fraud schemes.
- Promote the advancement of data analysis, capabilities, methodologies and strategies to detect, reduce, and prevent this type of fraud.
The ISAC has issued its first Annual Report that highlights key accomplishments across three measures:
- Levels of industry and state participation in the ISAC
- Volume and quality of alert and data contributions that identify ecosystem threats
- Volume and quality of ISAC’s data analysis to identify suspected fraud
This report also outlines the ISAC’s strategic plans going forward, to ensure a tax ecosystem where taxpayers can confidently file their taxes safely and securely.
Tax Security Awareness
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry held a National Tax Security Awareness Week November 27 -December 1, 2017 to encourage both individual and business taxpayers to take steps to protect their tax data and identities in advance of the 2018 filing season.
- Monday: Online Security - Seven Steps for Safety
- Tuesday: Avoid Phishing Emails by Data Thieves
- Wednesday: Victims of Data Breaches Should Consider These Steps
- Thursday: Employers, Payroll Officials, Avoid the W-2 Email Scam
- Friday: Small Businesses: Be Alert to Identity Theft
Security Summit Partners Mark Progress in Identity Theft Battle; Prepare for 2018 Tax Season
The latest data shows significant improvements as fewer identity theft returns entered the tax system, fewer fraudulent refunds were issued and fewer taxpayers reported themselves as victims of identity theft. The progress also underscored that the Security Summit partnership has led to stronger federal and state tax systems with important new protections for taxpayers.
For details on continued progress against tax-related identity theft and prepared additional safeguards for the 2018 filing season to curb refund fraud, please see the IRS news release.
“Don’t Take the Bait” Education Campaign
The Don't Take the Bait awareness series is focused on the need for tax professionals to increase their computer security and be cautious of spear phishing scams. Tax professionals must remember that they have a legal requirement under federal law to protect taxpayer information. See also: Continuing Education Credit for Qualified Data Security Courses.
Security Awareness Campaigns
Summit partners have held a series of public awareness campaigns directed at taxpayers and at tax professionals, encouraging both to take steps to protect themselves from identity thieves and cybercriminals.
- Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself: Security 101
- Taxes. Security. Together.
- Don't Take the Bait
- Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself
- Security Awareness Tax Tips
- News Events and Announcements - 2018
- News Events and Announcements - 2017
- News Events and Announcements - 2016
- News Events and Announcements - 2015
- Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) Annual Report
- 2016 Security Summit Report
- 2015 Security Summit Report
Additional Information for Individuals
- Helpful resources: Publications, articles, YouTube videos and other identity theft related outreach
- Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data: A Guide for Your Business (PDF)
- Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts
Additional Information for Tax Professionals
- Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself
- Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data (PDF)
- Identity Protect: Prevention, Detection and Victim Assistance
- Data Theft Information for Tax Professionals
Apply to Become a Member of the Security Summit
Organizations involved in the preparation and processing of tax returns and refunds (such as software firms, tax preparation firms, payroll processors or financial institutions and/or processors of tax time financial products) and governmental tax agencies are welcome to apply for membership in the Security Summit, a collaborative effort to fight identity theft tax refund fraud. If your agency or organization meets the required Membership Criteria, please complete the Security Summit Membership Application and submit a statement of interest describing your role, mission and functional responsibilities within the tax ecosystem. Also see the Required Criteria and Qualifications “Statement of Interest” Example.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all have a role.