IDENTITY THEFT: The IRS Should Adopt a New Approach to Identity Theft Victim Assistance that Minimizes Burden and Anxiety for Such Taxpayers
Monday, February 3rd, 2014 @ 1:09AM
Tax-related identity theft continues to impose significant burdens on taxpayers and the IRS. Since 2004, the National Taxpayer Advocate has identified this issue as one of the "Most Serious Problems" faced by taxpayers in nearly every annual report submitted to Congress. In addition, the National Taxpayer Advocate has testified at numerous hearings on this subject, including seven since the start of 2012.
To its credit, the IRS has recognized identity theft as a major challenge and has devoted significant resources to addressing it. Yet the IRS still takes much too long to fully unwind the harm suffered by identity theft victims and issue refunds to the legitimate taxpayers. Moreover, the IRS has yet to implement an effective program for overseeing cases with multiple issues that require coordination among different IRS units, and is allowing too many victims to fall between the cracks of IRS bureaucracy. Thus, victim assistance overall, as well as the IRS’s specialized but decentralized approach, continues to be inadequate.