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Paulsen Bill Protects Taxpayers, Helps Prevent Tax Identity Theft

Washington, D.C. -- Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN-03) has introduced H.R. 5361, legislation that improves protections against identity theft for taxpayers by requiring the Internal Revenue Service to expand a pilot program that enables the IRS to issue Identity Protection PINs (IP PINs). An IP PIN is a six-digit number generated annually for taxpayers that helps prevent misuse of a taxpayer’s Social Security Number and helps the IRS validate the authenticity of a return.

Presently, the IRS offers IP PINs as part of a pilot program to taxpayers in Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia, or to taxpayers whom the IRS believes to be at particular risk of identity theft. Paulsen’s legislation would require the IRS to expand the program to offer IP PINs to any concerned taxpayer.

“Tax day is just a few short weeks away, but while millions of Minnesotans are preparing their returns in good faith, bad actors are assuredly hoping to exploit the system, submit false returns using innocent taxpayers’ information, and pocket the refund for themselves,”said Congressman Paulsen. “In just the first two months of the 2016 tax filing season alone, the IRS identified more than 31,000 fraudulent returns involving identity theft. Thousands more likely slipped through the cracks. For victims, it means months or even years of headache as they try to untangle the mess, and that’s only if an unsuspecting taxpayer realizes he or she had been victimized at all. It’s a scam that particularly hits seniors, who can often struggle to navigate the process of clearing their name.”

The IRS’ IP PIN program provides an additional layer of security to the returns of legitimate filers. In 2016 the IRS issued some 2.7 million IP PINs. But today the pilot program, while successful, is unavailable to the vast majority of filers.

“This legislation will expand availability of IP PINs nationwide. It will ultimately mean fewer identity theft victims and a safer, more robust filing process,”Paulsen said.

Paulsen’s bill was included in broader bipartisan IRS reform legislation introduced by Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) earlier this week. Paulsen is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the IRS and the tax filing process and expects to consider the bipartisan bill in the coming weeks.

Congressman Paulsen, a champion of small business and advocate of free enterprise, entrepreneurship, and innovation, chairs the bicameral Joint Economic Committee and is co-chair of the Congressional Medical Technology Caucus.

 

For more information on Congressman Paulsen’s work in Congress visit paulsen.house.gov