Report: IRS failed to notify 450K people of employment identity theft

PROVIDENCE – A federal oversight agency last week released a report showing the IRS failed to notify more than 450,000 taxpayers they were victims of employment identity theft.

The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA, said it audited how the IRS notified employment identity theft victims in the 2017 process year. The results showed a programming error limited the IRS notifications to only those victims who were not identified in prior years.

“As a result, the IRS did not notify 458,658 repeat victims of employment identify theft that it identified in [2017],” according to the report.

Employment-related identity theft occurs when an identity thief uses another person’s identity to gain employment, according to TIGTA.

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The report also shows 13.5 percent of the 112,445 notifications of employment identity theft the IRS successfully sent out went to the wrong person.

The IRS started taking actions to fix the technological error on Sept. 27. In a list of recommendations, TIGTA said the IRS should notify the unaware victims, rectify the erroneous notifications and revise its programming to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“The IRS agreed with TIGTA’s recommendations and plans to take corrective actions,” according to the report.

Eli Sherman is a PBN staff writer. Email him at, or follow him on Twitter @Eli_Sherman.