TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, February 27, 2016

IRS Says 114,000, 334,000, 724,000 Taxpayer Accounts Were Hacked

ID TheftWall Street Journal, IRS Says Cyberattacks on Taxpayer Accounts More Extensive Than Previously Reported:

The Internal Revenue Service said Friday that more than twice as many taxpayer accounts may have been hit by cybercriminals than the agency previously reported, with hackers gaining access to as many as 724,000 accounts and attempting to break into an additional 575,000.

The disclosure is the second revision by the IRS in the last six months and comes as Americans are preparing their tax returns for 2015.

Last August, the IRS said cybercrooks used stolen Social Security numbers and other data to gain access to taxpayer information for as many as 334,000 accounts, up from a number of 114,000 announced in May 2015.

The hackers targeted “Get Transcript,” an IRS application that allowed taxpayers to obtain tax return information for prior years, but not the main IRS database. Such information is valuable for thieves who hope to make false returns appear more legitimate and evade antifraud filters. ...

One prominent lawmaker, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R., Utah) called the new IRS breach revelations “deeply concerning.” The Senate Finance Committee Chairman said, “Taxpayers deserve better from the IRS, but sadly we are reminded time and again of the agency’s incompetence.”

An IRS official said the newly revised numbers reflect the findings of an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which is an agency watchdog. ...

The IRS said in a statement that it is “moving aggressively” to protect the additional taxpayers from tax identity theft. It is notifying by mail both the taxpayers whose accounts may have been accessed and those whose transcripts were targeted but not accessed. The mailings will begin Feb. 29.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/02/wsjirs-says-114000-330000-700000-taxpayer-accounts-were-hacked-.html

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Comments

And Brady says the IRS can restore its credibility? This group can't find their rear end with both hands and two mirrors.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Feb 27, 2016 8:54:51 AM

It saddens me that I find out more about the functioning of my employer on this blog than from my employer.

Posted by: Lieutenant Blantyre | Feb 28, 2016 5:53:43 AM

I believe I'm one of those that was hacked, and they've filed the returns in our name. Now, the IRS is forcing us to call them to verify who we are so that we can file our tax forms. One catch- the number they provided hasn't had an available rep to speak since we received the letter two weeks ago.

Posted by: Robert | Feb 29, 2016 7:30:18 AM

Ironic that the failure to establish your transcript account (and thus leaving it open for scammers to obtain transcripts of your returns) was one way to leave yourself open to identity theft. And now it appears establishing a transcript account was also a way to leave yourself open to identity theft, thanks to IRS ineptitude..

Posted by: ruralcounsel | Feb 29, 2016 9:43:34 AM