Business

IRS moves to fight identity theft

WASHINGTON — The 2014 budget proposal to be released by the White House on Wednesday will include new steps to combat what the Internal Revenue Service says is an exponential growth in tax refund-related identity theft.

A preview of the measures provided by Obama administration officials Tuesday includes increasing criminal sentences for those convicted of tax-related identity theft and creating new civil penalties for those who file fraudulent returns.

Advertisement

The IRS would be able to assess a $5,000 civil penalty for each incidence of identity theft.

Under the plan, the government would also limit access to Social Security Administration files on deceased individuals that have been used by those seeking fraudulent refunds. Instead, the files that the SSA compiles would be available immediately only to those who legitimately need the information for fraud prevention purposes. All other users would have to wait three years for access.

Get Talking Points in your inbox:
An afternoon recap of the day’s most important business news, delivered weekdays.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The proposal would also revise the W-2 form that employers must provide the IRS so to include an ‘‘identifying number’’ for each employee rather than the employee’s Social Security number.

As of the end of 2012 the IRS had more than 3,000 employees working on identity theft issues, more than double from the previous year.

The tax agency says that in 2012 it prevented $20 billion in fraudulent returns, including those related to identity theft, compared to $14 billion the previous year. It says it stopped 5 million suspicious returns in 2012, up from 3 million in 2011.

Associated Press

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com