IRS expands assistance program on identity theft
Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 12:00 am
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has announced a nationwide expansion of the program designed to help law enforcement obtain tax return data vital to their local efforts in investigating and prosecuting specific cases of identity theft.
More than 1,560 waiver requests have been received since the Law Enforcement Assistance Program’s inception from over 100 state and local law enforcement agencies in the nine states participating in the pilot. The expansion covers all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and will be effective Friday, March 29, 2013.
“The results of the pilot illustrate that this works as an innovative tool for law enforcement to help pursue tough identity theft situations,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller. “This program is an effective way for law enforcement to work with the IRS to pursue identity thieves and protect taxpayers. Expanding the program and making it permanent on a nationwide basis makes sense for victims as well as law enforcement and tax administration.”
The IRS also announced today continued progress on several areas involving identity theft, including resolution of more victim cases and continued emphasis on criminal investigations.
Since the start of 2013, the IRS has worked with victims to resolve and close more than 200,000 cases. This is in addition to the expanded Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) pilot, an initiative to protect victims with previously confirmed cases of identity theft by creating an additional layer of security on these accounts.
The IRS has issued more than 770,000 IP PINs to identity theft victims at the start of this tax filing season.
Since October, there have been more than 670 criminal identity theft investigations opened. The criminals being sentenced are spending an average of four years in custody with sentences as long as 20 years.
“The IRS continues to aggressively work identity theft issues on multiple fronts, focusing on helping victims of this terrible crime and pursuing the perpetrators across the nation,” Miller said. “The pilot expansion will help these efforts.”
After an initial, successful pilot that started in Florida last April, the IRS expanded the program to eight additional states in October 2012. Together, the nine states represented a large percentage of the overall identity theft refund fraud seen by the IRS. In addition to the initial state of Florida, the pilot program expanded to include Alabama, California, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Published in The WCP 4.2.13