IRS strengthens security after spate of cyberattacks

15 Jun 2015

IRS intends to change the DNA of entire US tax system to make it safer

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has revealed sweeping new changes to its security systems following the news that thieves may have made off with US$50m worth of fraudulent refunds.

The thieves made the US$50m heist after stealing 100,000 taxpayers’ details.

The IRS is collaborating with software firms, payroll processors and state tax administrators to combat identity theft and refund fraud.

It said the effort will increase information sharing between industry and governments.

There will be standardised sharing of suspected identity fraud information and analytics from the tax industry to identify fraud schemes and locate indicators of fraud patterns.

“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,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said.

“We’ve made tremendous progress, and we will continue these efforts. Taxpayers filing their tax returns next filing season should have a safer and more secure experience.”

Initiatives agreed by the group include new systems for taxpayer authentication, fraud identification, information assessment, a new cybersecurity framework and better taxpayer awareness and communication about the issues of cybersecurity.

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

“We share a common enemy in those stealing personal information and perpetrating refund fraud and we share a common goal of protecting taxpayers. We want to build these changes into the DNA of the entire tax system to make it safer.”

IRS image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years