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senate Bill S. 240

Should All Taxpayers be Able to Get an IRS PIN to Make Their Tax Returns More Secure?

Argument in favor

Identity theft tax refund fraud — in which fraudsters file false tax returns to steal people’s tax refunds — is a multi-billion dollar crime that costs taxpayers and the federal government time, money, and resources. Giving all taxpayers the option of getting PINs to add a layer of security to their tax returns will help combat this crime.

Shortfuse's Opinion
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05/04/2019
I love this idea. This number could be used as also as a voter ID number as a cross reference in addition to the Social Security number. Then people can vote from their homes or computers with both of these numbers. We should make filing a mandatory this where one could obtain this number. Roll it all up into one tiny bag of shit, & let’s do the census yearly and have the census questions put right on the back of your tax form done!
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KansasTamale's Opinion
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05/04/2019
AGREE. COMPLETELY. SHORTFUSE has a great idea. A PIN # that could be used also as a voter ID number as a cross reference in addition to the Social Security number. HOWEVER, people voting from their homes or computers is NOT A GOOD IDEA YET. This sounds good but until our government sees the importance of securing our internet & voting system I would NOT VOTE THAT WAY. The pin # could be used to sign in to vote speeding up the process or to put on the early voting ballots. Only one department would know whose PIN# was whose - the IRS. We should make filing an IRS form mandatory, this would allow every one to obtain a PIN # even if they don’t pay any taxes.
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Glowurm's Opinion
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05/04/2019
Great idea! Should go a long way to deter tax refunds from being stolen by thieves! Cndrla, you sure told Ms. Collins! Right on! Handing us a crumb does NOT MAKE UP for her vote on Kavanaugh or her not standing up to the ‘Tard, some call president. Steve, that’s exactly why we need it, I believe!
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Argument opposed

The IRS has already made the IP PIN pilot program available to victims of past identity theft tax fraud, as well as all residents of states where this crime is more likely to occur. Expanding the IP PIN program to all Americans prematurely, before the IRS is confident its system can handle it, risks putting too much pressure on the IRS’ system and compromising the IP PIN program.

Seth's Opinion
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05/04/2019
Abolish the IRS and all taxes on productivity and prosperity.
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Dennis's Opinion
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05/04/2019
Abolish IRS and go to a flat tax or national sales tax
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Kathy's Opinion
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05/04/2019
I don’t think it is needed. If someone is smart enough to hack into the IRS then a PIN number is not going to stop them. I think more important issues should be addressed like immigration etc
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Finance
    IntroducedJanuary 28th, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. 240?

This bill – the Taxpayer Identity Protection Act of 2019 — would require the Treasury Dept. to expand its Identity Program PIN (IP PIN) pilot program, which provides PIN numbers that may be used in conjunction with a Social Security Number (SSN) or other identifying information to assist in verifying an individual’s identity upon request.

This bill wouldn’t require taxpayers to use IP PINs; instead, it’d allow them to opt in to the program if they want an extra layer of identity protection.

If enacted, this bill would require the Treasury Dept. to make this program available to any individual living in the U.S. within five years of its enactment. This five-year incremental expansion is meant to provide accountability to ensure that the IRS is adequately building out and supporting the IP PIN program, which simultaneously ensuring that taxpayers have access to the IP PIN program as soon as possible.

Impact

Taxpayers; tax returns; identity theft tax refund fraud; Treasury Dept; and the IRS.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 240

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced this bill to thwart identity theft tax refund fraud and prevent American taxpayers and seniors by requiring the IRS to expand its Identity Protection Pin (IP PIN) pilot program nationwide over the next five years. In remarks on the Senate floor, Sen. Collins argued that this legislation is needed to protect Americans’ tax refunds:

“Having an IP PIN has proven to protect against identity theft.  This is a concrete action that we can take to help protect taxpayers from being ripped off by criminals and ensure that they receive the refunds to which they are entitled. The IRS supports the expansion of this vital program over the next five years.  I encourage my colleagues to vote for the adoption of our bipartisan bill.”

In her Senate testimony. Sen. Collins added that criminals have made filing phony tax refund claims in real filers’ names a big business, as they’ve figured out that it’s “cheaper and easier for them to steal taxpayers’ identities and hijack their tax refunds than it is to traffic in drugs or rob banks.”

Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), an original cosponsor of this bill, adds that the IP PIN pilot program’s effectiveness is proven:

“The IP PIN pilot program has shown it can effectively defend taxpayers from the growing risk of identity theft, and it is critical that we take this next step to expand the program. As these threats grow, it’s important that the federal government make every effort to help protect taxpayers’ identities. While doing so, this program can also help save billions of dollars by preventing fraudulent tax returns.”

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has long supported giving all taxpayers PINs, writing to the Senate Finance Committee in September 2015:

“The growing amount of fraudulent tax refunds paid and the economic and emotional impact to individual victims of identity theft are unacceptable. We have previously supported and continue to support several proposals addressing identity theft, including… the expansion of the IP PIN system… The AICPA has previously urged the IRS to consider issuing IP PINs to all individuals, and appreciates Congressional action in this area.”

RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax, and consulting firms, notes that there’s “growing support” for expanding the IP PIN program, but the IRS’ current systems aren’t equipped to handle such an expansion yet:

“There is growing support for extending the voluntary IP PIN program to taxpayers in every state. However, until the IRS’s systems are fully equipped to handle a widespread IP PIN program, the program will remain limited to victims of identity theft and to taxpayers in the listed states.”

According to the Journal of Accountancy, the IRS already intends to expand the IP PIN program to all taxpayers once its systems are able to handle it this expansion.

This bill has one cosponsor, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL).


Of NoteIdentity theft refund fraud is when a scammer files a false tax return using a stolen Social Security Number (SSN) and other personal information, receiving a taxpayer’s tax refund from the IRS instead of the actual taxpayer receiving the return. This scam wastes taxpayer dollars, jeopardizes taxpayers’ legitimate refunds, and threatens the IRS’ integrity.

While the IRS has made significant progress in combating identity theft refund fraud, this crime continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing the agency. In 2016 alone, refund fraud cost the IRS $1.7 billion. In 2015, the IRS paid even more — over $5 billion — in fake claims. Those who are defraud in these schemes often have to wait months or even years to receive the refunds that they’re legally entitled to. In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received over 82,000 complaints related to tax refund fraud. These schemes often target vulnerable older citizens: in 2010, approximately 76,000 seniors were victims of identity theft refund fraud.

In December 2018, USA TODAY reported that “thanks to a concerted effort from federal and state governments and the private sector,” IRS figures showed that the number of reported tax identity theft victims from January through October 2018 was down 19 percent from 2017, and down 72 percent from 2015.

The IRS’ IP PINs are six-digit numbers assigned to eligible taxpayers, which allow their tax returns and refunds to be processed without delays and help prevent taxpayers’ SSNs from being misused on fraudulent income tax returns. If a tax return is filed with an SSN and an incorrect or missing IP PIN, the IRS’ system automatically rejects the return until the filter’s identity can be confirmed. According to the IRS, the IP PIN program rejected approximately 7,376 fraudulent e-filed tax returns in just one month during the 2017 tax season.

The IRS has offered IP PINs since 2013. They’re currently available to victims of identity theft as well as all residents of Florida, Georgia, and the District of Columbia (the first three test sites for the program), as well as California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada and Rhode Island, which have the highest per-capita percentages of identity theft refund fraud in the U.S. In 2018, the IRS issued nearly 3.5 million IP PINs to taxpayers — up from 770,000 in 2013.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / NoDerog)

AKA

Taxpayer Identity Protection Act of 2019

Official Title

A bill to require the Internal Revenue Service to establish, incrementally over five years, a nationwide program to provide personal identification numbers to taxpayers to help prevent tax-related identity theft.

    I love this idea. This number could be used as also as a voter ID number as a cross reference in addition to the Social Security number. Then people can vote from their homes or computers with both of these numbers. We should make filing a mandatory this where one could obtain this number. Roll it all up into one tiny bag of shit, & let’s do the census yearly and have the census questions put right on the back of your tax form done!
    Like (65)
    Follow
    Share
    Abolish the IRS and all taxes on productivity and prosperity.
    Like (43)
    Follow
    Share
    AGREE. COMPLETELY. SHORTFUSE has a great idea. A PIN # that could be used also as a voter ID number as a cross reference in addition to the Social Security number. HOWEVER, people voting from their homes or computers is NOT A GOOD IDEA YET. This sounds good but until our government sees the importance of securing our internet & voting system I would NOT VOTE THAT WAY. The pin # could be used to sign in to vote speeding up the process or to put on the early voting ballots. Only one department would know whose PIN# was whose - the IRS. We should make filing an IRS form mandatory, this would allow every one to obtain a PIN # even if they don’t pay any taxes.
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    Abolish IRS and go to a flat tax or national sales tax
    Like (24)
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    Great idea! Should go a long way to deter tax refunds from being stolen by thieves! Cndrla, you sure told Ms. Collins! Right on! Handing us a crumb does NOT MAKE UP for her vote on Kavanaugh or her not standing up to the ‘Tard, some call president. Steve, that’s exactly why we need it, I believe!
    Like (24)
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    On the surface it makes sense. Do it.
    Like (16)
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    I don’t think it is needed. If someone is smart enough to hack into the IRS then a PIN number is not going to stop them. I think more important issues should be addressed like immigration etc
    Like (15)
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    Great Susan Collins, now why will you not stand up to the real threat to Americans? Threats such as CLIMATE CHANGE? Oh that’s right, you want more studies to see if climate change is real. 🖕I believe Science and not politicians who accept dark money from the fossil fuel industry to finance their next campaign. Protecting people’s tax information is not so important when the bees are gone. Not so important when water is undrinkable. Etc Etc Etc.... 2020 Maine will kick your fossil fuel loving ass to the curb🖕
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    👍🏻Senate Bill S. 240 AKA the “Taxpayer Identity Protection Act of 2019” I’m in strong agreement with and recommend the passage of Senate Bill S.240 AKA the Taxpayer Identity Protection Act of 2019 — would require the Treasury Dept. to expand its Identity Program PIN (IP PIN) pilot program, which provides PIN numbers that may be used in conjunction with a Social Security Number (SSN) or other identifying information to assist in verifying an individual’s identity upon request. The use of the PIN system is an option WHICH a taxpayer Could use but would not be a mandatory requirement to use. Purely voluntary. Identity theft tax refund fraud — in which fraudsters file false tax returns to steal people’s tax refunds — is a multi-billion dollar crime that costs taxpayers and the federal government time, money, and resources. Giving all taxpayers the option of getting PINs to add a layer of security to their tax returns will help combat this crime. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻S.240👍🏻👍🏻. 5.4.19.....
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    Abolish the IRS *AND* "income" tax! End punishment for success!
    Like (7)
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    The tax payer ID pin is a good idea. However, it Must be fully funded giving the IRS resources they need to implement this and manage it properly! Oh, one more thing. By Susan Collins just dropping this little bit Common Sense piece of legislation doesn't make up for her unconscionable and Reckless decision the vote for obviously unqualified and corrupt lying Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court👎💩🗑
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    This really should have been a requirement a long time ago. The government can’t stand by and just let someone’s refund be stolen!
    Like (5)
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    Yes, as one that was hacked I have one and I sleep better.
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    Our social security numbers were not to be used as an identification number. It says so on the card.
    Like (5)
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    Question....If hackers could get all your other info.....couldn't they get your PIN #?
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    Anything on line is hackable. A PIN is just another thing for hackers to learn how to hack. Cannot support this. Will it have nefarious uses ? 🤔
    Like (5)
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    One caveat: it must cost nothing. That said, we'll never file online (or bank online). You think the IRS can't get hacked, and a four digit pin is going to save you?
    Like (5)
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    Dear senator, stop wasting our time with your sidelined ideas. When it comes to our democracy, healthcare, separation of families, Russian influencing our election or clean air and water, you are stone cold like ice and aren’t taking any actions to protect our country and our values and falling in line like a lapdog. So we don’t want to hear from you until you can stand up for us the 99% and our country.
    Like (5)
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    Right kind of solution but thinking too small. We absolutely need a way to secure our tax retuns. AND we also need a way to secure our SS number so people dont use it fraudulently. Banks are losing billions (and we are paying for it). We also need a way to prove who is and isn't a US citizen on line so foreign agents can't pretend and disrupt our democracy. Dear CONGRESS: We the People are looking to you to look at the big picture and solve the big problems. If you need help with this I am willing to serve.
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    This has existed for years
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