IRS Commissioner: ID Theft Cases Dropped Nearly Half

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
May 19, 2017

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, in a recent speech, said that the number of people reporting to the IRS that they were victims of identity theft declined by 46 percent between 2015 and 2016, which he said as a sign that ongoing efforts to stop people from filing false returns are working. Specifically, the number dropped from 698,700 in Calendar Year 2015 to 376,500 in 2016. However,  he stressed that there is more work to be done, noting that the service continues to catch a large number of false returns: during Fiscal Year 2016, its systems stopped more than $6.5 billion in fraudulent refunds on 969,000 returns confirmed to have been filed by identity thieves, meaning that fraudsters certainly aren't letting up anytime soon. Yet, he said that the IRS continues to struggle with lack of adequate resources, pointing out that it only got $290 million in additional funding after five straight years of budget cuts. 

He also took the time to talk about the upcoming end of his five-year term, at the end of 2018. He said that his opinion is that his successor should be someone who's more a manager than an expert in tax law. 

"My experience has been that that’s what the IRS needs, since you have an organization with about 80,000 employees and all the management challenges and opportunities that go along with an agency that size. This agency needs someone who is comfortable and has experience managing large organizations. If they happen to know something about tax law, that wouldn’t hurt," he said. 


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