June 30, 2015
Protecting your clients’ identities continued to be a major initiative in the 2015 individual tax season. In fact, the Indiana Department of Revenue stopped $11.6 million in attempted identity theft to date (June 29, 2015) represented by more than 4,300 fraudulent tax returns.
Though our identity protection program’s sophistication increased, fewer identity theft returns have been received. The department believes this indicates its program’s success in not just identifying identity theft, but deterring identity theft criminals from submitting fraudulent returns to Indiana.
Indiana’s success has drawn national attention in the media and beyond. In March 2015, Commissioner Mike Alley testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee about Indiana’s identity protection program.
The structure and success of this year’s identity protection program can be attributed to lessons learned from the pilot program conducted in 2014. The department analyzed identity thieves’ tricks and tactics for submitting fraudulent tax returns and built a program to combat them. Sophisticated and constantly improved filters used proven data to comb tax returns for identity validity.
The sophisticated filters caused the department to issue more Identity Confirmation Quiz letters than last year. By completing the simple four-question quiz, taxpayers helped the department quickly confirm and secure their identities. More than 173,900 taxpayers completed the 2015 Identity Confirmation Quiz.
The identity protection program will remain integrated in the department’s tax return processing system. We continue learning more about identity theft and tax fraud crimes and improving our ability to keep Hoosier identities safe.