About 90 percent of those returns are expected to come back without a problem. For the 10 percent that don’t, the state will send filers a letter instructing them to take an online quiz to further verify their identities.
The quiz will include questions based on a filer’s public records, making it harder for an identity thief to answer them. For filers without Internet access, the department will offer assistance by phone or at its regional offices.“It won’t impact most people,” Alley said. “For those who are impacted, we’re hoping they’ll understand our goal is to protect taxpayers and the state.”Indiana isn’t alone in combatting identify theft tax fraud.
Last year, the Internal Revenue Service issued $4 billion in fraudulent refunds to people using stolen identities, according to a U.S. Treasury Department report. The IRS has stepped up efforts to fight identity theft. In 2012, it intercepted more than $12 billion in fraudulent refunds, compared with $8 billion the year before.
In Indiana, efforts to stop tax fraud by identity thieves are part of a larger effort to remedy security problems identified by a 2012 audit that found the Department of Revenue was sacrificing accuracy for speed. The audit came after the department found it had lost track of about $500 million in tax revenues owed to local governments and state agencies.
Alley, the former CEO of Fifth Third Bank, was brought in to turn around the department. He’s since implemented an array of reforms and expanded the department’s information technology and security teams.
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Maureen.