Identity Theft Risks from Equifax Data Breach

Identity Theft Risks from Equifax Data Breach

During the National Public Liaison (NPL) Practitioner meeting in September, the IRS discussed the extent of the Equifax data breach, its implications in terms of tax-related identity theft, and the safeguards in place.

It is estimated that roughly 143 million taxpayers are affected. According to IRS, the data breach exposed names, SSNs and mailing addresses; however, this information would likely not be very helpful when attempting to file a falsified return. Thanks to the Security Summit — the unprecedented partnership between the IRS, state tax agencies, and the private-sector tax industry — 37 data point filters were instituted and new processes are in place to prevent the processing of a return without additional filing information.

The IRS clarified at the time of the NPL meeting that affected or compromised taxpayers should only contact the IRS using Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if they know for a fact that someone is attempting to use their data for refund fraud and not if their information was included in the data obtained by the hackers during the breach. The IRS will release updates on the breach when more information is available.

Meanwhile, taxpayers who believe their data has been compromised would be well-advised to take precautionary measures to protect their data and monitor their credit reports.

American Expatriate Tax is a part of Contexo Global Mobility Solutions & Tax Consulting Ltd. registered in Hong Kong. Together, we help companies and individuals navigate through the complexities of global mobility and related tax issues. Here is where you will find a blend of expertise from Big 4 accounting firms and Fortune Global 500 companies but the attention of a boutique consulting practice. The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.