The IRS continues to leave its many computer systems without proper security, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. Former IRS employees, fraudster and hackers are making private taxpayer date vulnerable. Significant deficiencies relating to the financial reporting systems are explained in the GAO report. Because millions of Americans are required by law to file tax returns, they are rightfully worried.
Improvements to taxpayer financial data controls should be the job of the IRS. In the wake of six unpleasant weeks for taxpayers and the IRS, this news has been reported. Greater fears over fraud have been experienced by taxpayers this year. Due to fraud, TurboTax recently announced it was suspending tax return filings.
When some taxpayers learned that their tax return had been filed by someone else, a person who received their refund, taxpayer distress became more severe. Only state returns, instead of federal taxes, were noticed in the beginning. Returns filed with TurboTax were investigated by the FBI. Data being compromised and returns filed on the basis of 2013 returns, when interviewed spoke about these issues.
Outdated software and easily compromised IRS passwords having improper security functions, was described in the report. In addition, the IRS at times, failed to delete access for those who were fired or who quit. Most importantly, former employees of the IRS should have been immediately cut off, instead of retaining access to it data system. The report by a co-author says that a great deal of taxpayer date still remains at risk for identity theft.
Little confidence or credibility in the IRS remain in taxpayers; especially after it was found that 1.6 million taxpayers had been affected by identity theft early in 2014. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration made that statement. Four years before, it was a fraction on that number. Likely, electronic filing plays a role.
Access to IRS files, according to the GAO, does not require much sophistication from hackers. In addition, the GAO also reports that some security weaknesses have been addressed but more improvement need to be made.