Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Prevention Act targets bogus tax returns

U.S. Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and John Lewis (D-GA), both members of the Ways and Means Committee, introduced the Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Prevention Act of 2015, which aims to reduce tax-related identify theft, on Monday.

“This past tax season, someone used my stolen personal information and filed a fraudulent tax return in my name, claiming a refund,” Renacci said. “I didn’t learn about this fraud until I received an IRS notice questioning a return I had filed, even though I had not yet even filed. I have heard of many similar stories from Northeast Ohio taxpayers who also were victims of identity theft-related tax fraud. Congress and the IRS must work together with industry to better shield taxpayer dollars from thieves and reduce the hardships caused by this increasing criminal activity.”

A 2014 Government Accountability Office report revealed that while the IRS prevented or recovered about $24.2 billion of attempted refund fraud in 2013, identity thieves received over $5.2 billion from the IRS that year, a $1.6 billion year-over-year increase.