Internal Revenue Service (IRS), state tax agencies and industry partners recently finalized plans for 2017 to improve identity theft protections for individual and business taxpayers after making significant inroads this year against fraudulent returns.
For the 2017 filing season, the IRS and Summit partners will take additional actions. As with 2016, many of the new features will not be visible to taxpayers but will provide the IRS and states with the information they need to identify and stop fraudulent identity theft returns.
Among the new or expanded features for 2017 that will protect taxpayers and the tax system:
•* New data elements transmitted by the tax industry with every tax return have been updated and expanded. In all, 37 new data elements will be added for 2017, providing additional information to strengthen the authentication that a tax return is being filed by the real taxpayer.
•* The tax industry will share with the IRS and states 32 data elements from business tax returns — extending more identity theft protections to business filers as well as individuals.
*• More than 20 states are working with the financial services industry to create their own version of a program that allows the industry to flag suspicious refunds before they are deposited into taxpayer accounts.
Also, private sector partners are enhancing efforts to identify the “ultimate bank account” to ensure that the refunds go into the true taxpayers’ accounts — not fraudsters.
•* The Form W-2 Verification Code initiative started by the IRS last year will expand to 50 million forms in 2017 from 2 million in 2016.
When completing a tax return, the 16-digit verification code should be entered when prompted by tax software used by both individuals and tax professionals to validate the information on the Form W-2. The IRS anticipates the verification code will be expanded in future years…