When IRS Really Stands for Inordinately Ruptured System

May 10, 2016

- novelist and tax expert

The IRS has just sent out another spate of notices informing taxpayers that their account has been hacked.  Being good bureaucrats the Service of course does not come out and say that.  Rather, “Criminal actors attempted entrance to the IRS Get Transcript application…”   What is a criminal actor?  Stallone playing Othello? 

 

The IRS also goes to pains to assure it has done nothing wrong. The “actors” obtained our social security numbers “from a source outside the IRS.”  Really? You only have TWO tasks:  collect revenue and safeguard taxpayer secrecy.  As to the latter, a system predicated on voluntary compliance in a world of identity theft cannot survive if it cannot assure adequate safeguards.  Oh, but it gets better.

 

The hacking occurred almost a year ago…and the IRS is just getting around to notifying us now?  Do you realize what happens if I wait 11 months to file my income tax return?  Penalties, harassing letters, liens, etc. 

 

The IRS also asserts that there should be no harm because “access to the online system was shut down.”  Yes, just like our financial info, including bank and investment account information, is supposed to be sacrosanct under your system.

 

The Service does promise one year of free identity theft protection from Equifax.  When we called Equifax, you know what they said?  We do not offer free services.

 

The IRS also offers “additional measures to protect your tax account.”  What does this entail?  Remember, this is the government after all…filing another form, specifically Form 14039.  That form is virtually incomprehensible in part because it does not cover breaches the sort of which occurred in these cases.

 

 

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