Press Releases

DelBene Applauds House Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Protect Taxpayers from ID Theft

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Washington, D.C., April 17, 2018 | comments
Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene’s (WA-01) bipartisan legislation that offers taxpayers identity theft protection passed the House of Representatives by voice vote. Her bill, sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), offers all concerned taxpayers the option of signing up for an IP PIN over the next five years, which would be used to fight back against identity fraud when filing tax returns. 

“Today is Tax Day all across America – a day that should never equate with taxpayers having their identity stolen and their hard-earned money taken. Unfortunately, we continue to hear one sad story after another across the country,” said Congresswoman DelBene. “One thing we know for certain is that criminals are getting smarter, and the IRS needs to keep up. Providing these kinds of enhanced security measures is a common sense step to ensure people’s identities are protected. This is a win for families, seniors and small businesses owners, who deserve some peace of mind when it comes time to file their tax returns.”

“As we conclude the 2017 tax filing season this Tax Day, it’s fitting the House is taking steps to strengthen protections for taxpayers against identity theft. It’s a scam that victimized more than 13,000 Minnesota taxpayers in 2015 alone, many of whom don’t even realize they’ve been targeted until they go to file their own legitimate return with the IRS,” said Congressman Paulsen. “This legislation means more peace of mind for taxpayers – particularly seniors – and less time spent untangling the mess of fraud.” 

An IP PIN is a six-digit number assigned to taxpayers each year that helps the IRS validate the authenticity of a filer’s tax return. It makes the filing of fraudulent returns using another individual’s data more difficult by requiring another step in the verification of the identity of the filer. In just the first two months of the 2016 filing season alone, the IRS identified more than 32,000 fraudulent returns involving identity theft. A recent Government Accountability Office report indicates that scammers attempted to claim $14.5 billion in tax year 2015.

Currently, IP PINs are available to taxpayers as part of a pilot program in just two states – Florida and Georgia – as well as the District of Columbia, or to taxpayers who have already been victims of identity theft. 

DelBene’s remarks on the House floor shortly before the vote can be viewed here. The full text of H.R. 5437 is available here.


 
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