As you can imagine, I regularly talk with professional tax preparers to learn and gain insights on how we can make a difference in their lives and also in the lives of their clients. Each and every one I have spoken with has been impacted to some degree by tax fraud. It’s a big issue, and this year, more so than any other. Oftentimes, when a taxpayer has been impacted by fraud, it can take 200 days or more for the professional and their client to resolve the issue and get the refund in the hands of its rightful owner. This is time consuming and distressing for all involved.
Safeguarding taxpayers from fraud is incredibly important to us at Intuit®, and one way to do that is to be at the forefront, in partnership with industry and government, in the fight against tax fraud.
Intuit is one of the industry leaders that is actively participating in the IRS Security Summit, a gathering of public-private partnership of federal and state governments, industry experts, trade associations, and tax preparation companies to create a set of common security standards.
As a result of work we have been doing together over the past several months, the IRS shared new security and data standards today, that the tax industry and government will implement in January 2016 prior to tax season. You can read the full report here, but at a high level, here is a summary of the new measures that are designed to ensure taxpayer protection:
- Reporting suspicious activity. Using aggregated e-file submission information, industry wide suspicious activity will be flagged. This required reporting will be instrumental in helping to protect and serve legitimate taxpayers and safeguard their privacy.
- Authenticated returns. Federal and state governments can better authenticate taxpayers and better identify suspicious returns at the time of efiling with an expanded set of data elements which the industry must now include in each transmitted return.
In addition, more real-time information sharing among federal and state governments, as part of the newly created Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC), will further support a focus on long-term cyber-security strategy and significantly strengthen our efforts to collectively find solutions and fight fraud.
Working together, we have made great progress, but this is just the beginning of a new era to fight cyber security threats to our tax system and to the American taxpayers we jointly serve. We support the joint initiatives announced today and look forward to continuing to participate in the Security Summit process that is so vitally important to all of us.