WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, today reacted to the latest report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) titled “The IRS is Not Notifying or Providing Sufficient Assistance to Victims of Employment-Related Identity Theft.”
“If there was any question about the need for my legislation to protect victims of employment-related identity theft, this report ends the debate,” said Coats.
Employment-related identity theft involves workers who steal the identity of another person in order to get a job. The Internal Revenue Service learns about this theft through tax forms but forbids its employees from notifying victims. Instead, the agency simply processes the tax return of the thief and sends a refund. As a result, victims may suffer accusations of not paying enough taxes or lose health, Social Security or other benefits because the government believes the victim earned income that was actually earned by the thief.
After Senator Coats questioned IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about the IRS policy earlier this year at a hearing, the IRS informed Senator Coats that the agency will now change course by notifying new victims starting next year. However, Coats said that the TIGTA report shows the need for his legislation in order to more fully protect victims and fulfills the recommendations in the report.
In April, the Senate Finance Committee adopted an amendment authored by Coats to require victim notification and protection, rather than leave it to the whims of an agency that has shown a lack of concern for innocent taxpayers. A link to the amendment can be found here.
“It is stunning that the IRS has chosen to aid and abet identity thieves for so long instead of protecting the innocent victims of the theft,” said Coats. “I hope that this report and my legislation will force the IRS to do the right thing.”
A link to the report can be found here.