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Neal, Lewis on National Tax Security Awareness Week

December 4, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman John Lewis (D-GA) released the following statement marking National Tax Security Awareness Week, which runs from December 2 through December 6:

“While protecting taxpayers and tax professionals from identity theft must be a year-round priority, this week is an excellent occasion to highlight the importance of our collective vigilance.  Through education and enhanced security strategies, taxpayers can better guard their personal data and avoid falling victim to scammers and fraud.  We are proud that this year Congress passed The Taxpayer First Act, bipartisan, pro-taxpayer legislation that originated in the Ways and Means Committee.  Thanks to this bill becoming law, the IRS and taxpayers will have new identity-theft protections, improved customer assistance, and dedicated partnerships aimed at combatting identity theft tax return fraud.  This National Tax Security Awareness Week, we urge taxpayers and tax professionals to explore the resources available to them as they work to eliminate vulnerabilities and safeguard their sensitive information.”

The Taxpayer First Act included numerous provisions to address issues related to identity theft, such as: 

  • Requiring the IRS to set up a program under which any taxpayer concerned about identity theft can request an identity protection personal identification number (IP PIN) to use in filing his or her return;
  • Providing a single point of contact at the IRS for any taxpayer who is the victim of identity theft;
  • Requiring IRS notification of taxpayers if there has been an unauthorized use of a taxpayer’s identity or that of their dependents; 
  • Implementing, with the National Taxpayer Advocate, caseworker guidelines to reduce the burden on identity theft victims trying to sort out their tax affairs;
  • Increasing the penalty for disclosure of taxpayer identity information by a return preparer;
  • Codifying the efforts of the IRS, through the Security Summit, to foster a public-private partnership aimed at combatting identity theft tax refund fraud;
  • Requiring the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee to study and make recommendations on preventing identity theft tax refund fraud; and
  • Ensuring additional confidentiality safeguards on return information provided to contractors.