IRS adds anti-fraud measures after breach

IRS adds anti-fraud measures after breach
© Greg Nash

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced Thursday a new round of steps to better protect against identity theft and fraud before the 2016 tax-filing season.

The measures are an effort to reassure taxpayers following a data breach that exposed 100,000 taxpayers’ data.

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“Taxpayers filing their tax returns next filing season should have a safer and more secure experience,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

The IRS said it has agreed to collaborate with tax preparation firms and state officials to boost the authentication process before giving out refunds and taxpayer data. The group will also swap more data on potential tax fraud.

“This agreement represents a new era of cooperation and collaboration among the IRS, states and the electronic tax industry that will help combat identity theft and protect taxpayers against tax refund fraud," Koskinen said. "We've made tremendous progress, and we will continue these efforts.”

Tax preparation firms will now cross-reference electronically filed tax returns with Internet addresses and computer devices. Tax preparation firms will also scan to see how long was spent filling out a return, in an effort to suss out computer mechanized fraud.

"Industry, states and the IRS all have a role to play in this effort," Koskinen said.