Statement from Kathy Pickering, Executive Director, The Tax Institute at H&R Block on IRS/State Summit on ID Theft Refund Fraud
As the world’s largest tax preparation company, at H&R Block, the privacy and security of our tax office and do-it-yourself clients’ personal information is very important. We are proud to be part of the IRS and State working groups to help combat identity theft tax refund fraud.
Today’s focus on the taxpayer has led to several new initiatives that H&R Block is pleased to help announce. We are committed to doing the right thing in leading the industry toward change. Taxpayers should know that the entire tax preparation industry, both retail and DIY solutions providers, is working with the IRS and states to help combat the threat of identity theft tax refund fraud and have put in place a number of new safeguards to protect taxpayers this upcoming season.
- The tax preparation industry will provide more than 20 new data elements to the IRS and the states for authentication purposes
- The IRS then will verify the identity of the taxpayer and validity of the tax return
- The industry, IRS and states have agreed to fight fraud by joining forces across the entire tax network
The good news is, this all is mostly seamless to the taxpayer. Their experience, either in the office or online, won’t differ much from previous years.
These steps, we know, likely aren’t enough to stamp out identity theft tax refund fraud completely. That is why the IRS, states and industry have committed to working together to identify new fraud schemes quicker and help get ahead of emerging fraud patterns.
While the industry is taking these steps, we also want to remind taxpayers they are the first defense in combating fraud. Together, industry and taxpayers can build a strong defense to help make sure taxpayers get their tax refunds without delay.
Tax identity theft is a multi-million-dollar business. In 2016, the IRS identified more than 1 million fraudulent returns.
Tax Identity Theft is the largest growing identity theft crime and H&R Block is explaining what it is and how to fix it.