IRS: Security Breach Impacted Many More Taxpayers

Photo (cc) by besnette

The Internal Revenue Service is again notifying the public that more taxpayers were affected by a security breach than the federal agency previously had thought.

The IRS has announced that a nine-month investigation into the breach of its “Get Transcript” system, conducted by the independent watchdog Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, has revealed that:

  • About 390,000 additional taxpayer accounts were potentially accessed from January 2014 through May 2015.
  • 295,000 taxpayer transcripts were targeted but not successfully accessed.

The IRS started mailing notifications to these taxpayers today.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says in a statement:

“The IRS is committed to protecting taxpayers on multiple fronts against tax-related identity theft, and these mailings are part of that effort. … We are moving quickly to help these taxpayers.”

The IRS’ “Get Transcript” application allows taxpayers to obtain information from their past tax returns by downloading it online or requesting it by mail.

The online service has been down since the IRS announced in May that hackers accessed more than 104,000 tax accounts via Get Transcript and used the information they retrieved to file fraudulent tax refunds.

The thieves reportedly had to use personal taxpayer information — including Social Security numbers, dates of birth, tax filing status and street addresses gathered from elsewhere — to access the transcript service.

In August, the IRS announced revised numbers, stating that the agency discovered potential access of additional taxpayer accounts following an internal review of the breach.

To help protect your personal information this tax season, check out “IRS Warns Taxpayers About Surge in Email Scams.”

To learn more about preparing for the 2016 tax season, be sure to check out Money Talks News’ new course taught by Stacy Johnson: “Mastering Taxes: Slash Your Taxes and Have Fun Doing It!” (Readers can save 28 percent via that link.)

What’s your take on the latest warning from the IRS? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

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