We need to do a better job of protecting taxpayers from the growing crime of identity theft
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This Tax Day or as my fellow CPA’s refer to it as, the date prescribed in Section 6072 as the date that returns under section 6012, 6013 or 6017 for persons reporting on the calendar year must be filed on or before, we Americans prepare to send our most personal financial information to the Federal Government in hopes it doesn’t get compromised.

Well in 2014, a tax return was filed in my name, something that happens all the time. However, as a CPA, I noticed the problem immediately and since I serve on the tax-writing committee, the IRS was able to step in and assist swiftly from a top level.

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Unfortunately that’s not the case for the thousands of Americans who fall victim to identity theft every hour. Their solution is not as swift. Which is why I created legislation, after my case, to centralize and speed up the process of alerting IRS of tax return identity theft. Remember, identity theft has become a growing concern in Ohio and across the United States as it is one of the most costly crimes to consumers and businesses, and is the fastest growing white collar crime in America according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The first step in preventing people from fraudulently filing returns in other people’s names to attempt trick the IRS into sending them refunds, is to limit the personal identifiable information (PPI) we are sending to the IRS.

The next step is to modernize the IRS and establish processes that are quick and effective in securing personal information. As a personal victim to this scam and I’m passionate to protect taxpayers against the threat of identity theft.

The privacy of your tax information remains at risk and unprotected. Allowing our personal information to go unprotected permits egregious crimes such as identity theft, a concern shared across the United States. As a member of Congress and a previous victim of identity theft, I take this issue very seriously and introduced legislation to combat the growing threat of tax-related identity theft.

Under present law, recipients of a taxpayer’s information are allowed to share the information with an associate, sell it, or even publish it. Consequently, a bank might use the information to market products to the taxpayer.

This month I introduced legislation that would limit re-disclosures and unauthorized uses of tax returns and tax return information obtained through Section 6103-based “consent” disclosures. Securing IDs is essential to not only protect consumers from financial loss, but also to securing our homeland from criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists.

Ohioans should be vigilant to protect themselves and our community from the dangers caused by identity thieves. If you become a victim of ID theft, please contact my office for personal assistance or visit the FTC identity theft website for advice on how to secure your personal data as well as what to do if your identity is stolen.

Renacci represents Ohio’s 16th District and is a member of the Ways and Means Committee.