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Liberty Tax, IRS Partnership Leads to Significant Decline in Tax Refund Identify Theft




Tax refund identity theft dropped nearly 50 percent in the first five months of 2017, according to new numbers released by the IRS. Liberty Tax Service is pleased to be a part of the effort that has helped to drive the decline. Liberty Tax Service is a member of the IRS Security Summit, which committed in 2015 to finding specific and actionable strategies to reduce tax refund identity theft.

“This is welcome news,” said Liberty Tax CEO John T. Hewitt. “It demonstrates how cooperation between the IRS, state governments and the tax preparation industry can have a great impact on creating a system that safeguards individual taxpayer data.”

The IRS said that 107,000 taxpayers reported identity theft in the first five months of 2017. That figure represents a decrease from 204,000 during the same period in 2016, and 297,000 for the same period in 2015. In an article in the Wall Street Journal, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen credited the partnership between the IRS, the tax industry and state tax officials with making taxpayers and tax preparers more aware of data security.

The IRS Security Summit was created to combat such tax fraud. Since its inception, the IRS Security Summit has created and expanded safeguards that help ensure the authenticity of the taxpayer and the tax return. The measures, including new data elements shared on the tax returns from IRS Security Summit partners, help the IRS prevent fraudulent returns from entering the system.

Liberty Tax Service, a leading tax preparation franchise, has been proactive in the fight against tax refund identity theft. As a member of the IRS Security Summit, the Company has participated in several joint working groups that helped develop strategies that are paying off in the effort combat identity theft. The Company will continue this important work to protect taxpayers.

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