Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rhode Island Tax Administrator Helps Launch Effort to Fight Refund Fraud

RI Tax Administrator David M. Sullivan at the security summit.
Earlier this month, Rhode Island Tax Administrator David M. Sullivan joined with Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen and tax industry representatives to announce a sweeping new collaborative effort to combat identity theft refund fraud and protect taxpayers.

The agreement includes identifying new steps to validate taxpayer and tax return information at the time of filing. The effort will increase information sharing between industry and governments. There will be standardized sharing of suspected identity fraud information and analytics from the tax industry to identify fraud schemes and locate indicators of fraud patterns.

Sullivan, in his role as president of the Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA), represented the states at the meeting, which was held in Washington, D.C. "States share the IRS’s concerns – and the industry’s concerns – about fighting refund fraud and ID theft fraud," he said. "It is a top priority for states. And I’m pleased to note that, under this agreement, a number of refund fraud detection and prevention solutions will be ready to for the starting of the coming filing season," Sullivan said. "We feel strongly that this plan is going to help everyone in the 2016 filing season -- including states, the IRS, the industry, and taxpayers," he said.

IRS Commissioner Koskinen said in a statement, "This agreement represents a new era of cooperation and collaboration among the IRS, states and the electronic tax industry that will help combat identity theft and protect taxpayers against tax refund fraud." He added, "We've made tremendous progress, and we will continue these efforts. Taxpayers filing their tax returns next filing season should have a safer and more secure experience."

The agreement announced at the summit at IRS headquarters was the result of a months-long effort by the states, the IRS, the tax preparation software industry, and others, working behind the scenes, Sullivan said. "Rest assured that this public-private partnership will continue working long after the meeting is over to help ensure that we better protect our taxpayers from identity theft tax refund fraud," he said.

"My thanks to IRS Commissioner Koskinen for his leadership in this process of developing a comprehensive plan that will benefit all stakeholders," Sullivan said.

Also attending the summit were providers of tax preparation software, tax preparation firms, payroll and tax financial product processors. The FTA, which sponsored Sullivan's trip to the meeting, is an association which serves the principal tax collection agencies of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Philadelphia, and New York City. The FTA also represents the interests of state tax administrators before federal policymakers.

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