TIGTA Gives IRS an F

Posted April 23, 2015

TIGTA (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) Gives the IRS Poor Marks for Handling ID Theft Victims

A recently released Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report says the IRS tells an ID theft victim that his/her case will be resolved in 180 days. While that’s what the IRS claims, the TIGTA report says it actually takes the IRS 278 days. Imagine what a victim of ID theft goes through having to wait those additional 98 days.

In his piece on theblaze.com, Fred Lucas describes what the TIGTA found while doing its audit, a follow-up to one done in 2013. The following has been excerpted from his article and edited to fit our format. You may find the full story by clicking on this link.

You will get an answer, but it may not be the right one

Based on a sampling of 100 identity theft tax accounts, the inspector general [projected] that 25,565 cases out of 267,692 were resolved incorrectly, or almost [1 in 10.]

Better maybe, but not what the IRS tells the public

In 2013, about 2.9 million tax identity theft incidents happened, an increase from 1.8 million in 2012, the Chicago Tribune reported. The average for resolving a case in 2013 [was] down from the average of 312 days in fiscal year 2012, but it [was] still well over what the IRS [instructed] employees to tell taxpayers who were victims of fraud.

“IRS guidance in FY 2013 instructed employees to inform taxpayers who [inquired] about the status of their identity theft case that cases are resolved within 180 days,” the IG report says.

IRS case processing data said resolutions took between 228 and 298 days

“[The IRS’s] own case processing data did not support the 180-day resolution time period. In fact, IRS data showed case resolutions were taking between 228 to 298 days.”

Misleading stakeholders

“When the IRS provides misleading identity theft case resolution time periods, it creates a false portrayal of improvement to stakeholders and makes it more difficult for the IRS to gage and improve its own operations.”

No change in procedure needed

“The IRS disagreed with the recommendation to develop processes and procedures to calculate the average time it takes to fully resolve taxpayer accounts.”

Victims deserve better

“While the IRS is making some progress in assisting victims of identity theft, those who have been affected by this devastating crime deserve better.”

ThreatMetrix

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