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IRS urges small businesses: Protect IT systems from identity theft

May 03, 2018
IRS urges small businesses: Protect IT systems from identity theft

IR-2018-111, May 3, 2018

WASHINGTON — The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry are warning small businesses to be on-guard against a growing wave of identity theft attempts against employers.

Small business identity theft is big business for identity thieves. When businesses and their employees have their identities stolen, their sensitive information can be used to open credit card accounts or file fraudulent tax returns for bogus refunds.

The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the private-sector tax community -- partners in the Security Summit -- are marking “Small Business Week” with a series of reminders to taxpayers and tax professionals. The week concludes with warnings about small business identity theft.

In the past two years, the Internal Revenue Service has noted a sharp increase in the number of fraudulent filings of Forms 1120, 1120S and 1041 as well as Schedule K-1. The fraudulent filings apply to partnerships as well as estate and trust forms.

Identity thieves are displaying a sophisticated knowledge of the tax code and tax industry filing practices as they attempt to obtain valuable data to help file fraudulent returns. To help counter this, Security Summit partners have expanded efforts to better protect business filers and identify suspected identity theft returns.

Identity thieves have long made use of stolen Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) to create fake Forms W-2 that they would file with fraudulent individual tax returns. Fraudsters also used EINs to open new lines of credit or obtain credit cards. Now they are using company names and EINs to file fraudulent returns.

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