James Kilgore, CPA gives a summary of this year’s identity protection hot-button items:
It is the unfortunate truth that fraud is ever-present in this day and age. Last year, Ohio combatted a record number of fraudulent tax returns, and our clients deal with telephone and email scams all of the time. This year, there have been a few developments in identity protection- read on to see what’s on the horizon as we ramp up for Tax Season 2016.
The IRS protects against tax-related identity theft by issuing an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) to help verify the taxpayer’s identity. On 1/4/16, the IRS issued these IP PINs on CP01A notices; however, these CP01A notices contained an error. The erroneous CP01A notices stated that the IP PIN was to be used for filing 2014 tax returns, but the IP PIN is actually supposed to be used for filing 2015 tax returns. Taxpayers who were issued an IP PIN must use it when filing Federal tax returns or they will likely have their returns rejected by the IRS. For more information on this topic please visit the IRS website.
Also, the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) announced at the end of December that it lost the personal data of about 50,000 tax filers. This article explains that while RITA maintains they have no evidence of stolen information, the agency is offering one year of free credit monitoring to anyone affected. If RITA suspects you might be one of the affected tax filers, RITA will send you a written notice from the Agency outlining the next steps to ensure that your information is protected.
You can take comfort in knowing that the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) has ramped up security efforts for this year. Ohio Tax Commissioner Joe Testa recently stated that the Identity Confirmation Quiz used by the ODT in 2015 has returned for this year. The quiz has been slightly modified for ease of use based on taxpayer feedback, and it is expected that with improvements to the ODT’s tax return analysis even fewer taxpayers will be asked to take the quiz.
If you ever run into any trouble, please call us. We’re more than happy to call the ODT or other appropriate agency with you to resolve any issues.