Hacked IRS Steps Up Safety Net for Taxpayers

By the time tax filing season rolls around next year, taxpayers can take comfort in knowing their personal information should be a lot safer than it was this year when hackers stole information from 100,000 taxpayers as disclosed by the IRS earlier this year.

“Protections will be in place by the time they have to file their taxes by 2016,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Thursday. These protections, which are a joint effort between the IRS and the tax industry, will be hammered out this summer into the fall.

Early developments to combat fraud, as laid out by the IRS, include beefing up taxpayer awareness on how to prevent identity theft, as well as unifying technology infrastructure between the IRS and the tax industry under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework.

Koskinsen hopes these efforts will combat what has become “increasingly sophisticated and well organized attempts to gain taxpayer personal information for criminal purposes.”

While the efforts are a step in the right direction, Koskinen did remind Americans the U.S. tax system “faces unprecedented challenges.”