IRS implements new authentication safeguards

New verification procedures instituted to better protect tax filers and loan applicants.
New verification procedures instituted to better protect tax filers and loan applicants.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has beefed up the authentication requirements on its website to better protect taxpayers and loan applicants.

The IRS invalidated its electronic filing PIN tool and initiated new requirements to strengthen validation for users of its Income Verification Express Service (IVES), an offering that aids in signing off on incomes of loan applicants.

The e-File PIN formerly allowed tax filers to verify signatures on their Form 1040s. After it was discovered in February that cyberthieves accessed more than 100,000 PINs using this tool, the IRS added protective measures to its processing systems. However, subsequent attacks prompted the agency to shutter the offering.

In a statement, the IRS said it is working with "the tax software community to make this change as smooth as possible for affected taxpayers."

Additionally, the IRS initiated new requirements for participants using its Income Verification Express Service (IVES), which, as a release from the IRS explains, assists the lending industry validate loan applicant's incomes.

To strengthen authentication and help prevent fraud, the IRS will now only accept transcript requests from IVES participants who certify that they will submit requests only from clients who have been verified using the new requirements.

"The stronger steps will help ensure the continuation of the IVES program in a safe, secure manner that protects taxpayers and combats potential fraud," the IRS said in the release.

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