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IRS Increases Efforts to Prevent Fraud

The chances of getting charged with identity theft just increased, according to a publication directed at accountants, Accounting Today. The Internal Revenue Service has created a special section on its web site dedicated to combating phishing, tax refund fraud and other types of identity fraud and theft.

The IRS undertook a pilot program in 2010 involving the returns of deceased taxpayers. It is also working on a program to limit repeat incidents of tax fraud. Taxpayers who report fraud or identity theft receive a special PIN number, making it more difficult to file a return in another taxpayer's name a second time.

The IRS has implemented a comprehensive program to combat identity theft, focusing on prevention, detection and speedy resolution of reported fraud. However, a spokesperson cautioned that the agency needs to send refunds out quickly to meet public demand while protecting the identities of taxpayers at the same time. Maintaining this balance will mean that the IRS will probably not be able to find every instance of tax or identity fraud.

Source: Accounting Today, "IRS Steps up Efforts to Combat Identity Theft", by Michael Cohn, Jan 10, 2012.

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