Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch has requested a confidential briefing by IRS officials by the end of next week.
“It is critical that this committee fully understand what took place, what information was at risk, how this may affect tax administration, and what appropriate legislative responses may be needed to reduce the risk of this occurring again,” Hatch said Wednesday in a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
The information was stolen as part of a sophisticated scheme to claim fraudulent tax refunds, Koskinen told reporters. It was taken from an online system called “Get Transcript,” where taxpayers can get tax returns and other tax filings from previous years.
In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address.
“We’re confident that these are not amateurs,” Koskinen said. “These actually are organized crime syndicates that not only we, but everybody in the financial industry, are dealing with.”
In speaking to reporters, Koskinen wouldn’t say whether investigators believe the criminals are based overseas — or where they obtained enough personal information about the taxpayers to access their returns. The IRS has launched a criminal investigation. The agency’s inspector general is also investigating.
Maybe if these morons hadn’t allowed the IRS to send tax returns overseas to be processed, people wouldn’t have to worry about this type of identity theft. This isn’t the first time that the IRS has had this problem. Oh, and it’s not just the IRS that does this. CPA firms do it too.
And just so you know, medical billing firms are outsourcing their data processing also. So Koothrapali not only has your Social Security number and address, he also knows about that STD you contracted in college.