The Blatt Watch by Peter Blatt: The Lesser of Two Evils: How Protection Gets in the Way of Good Sense

From the desk of Peter Blatt

June 10, 2015

The lesser of two evils: How Protection gets in the way of good sense
IRS Releases Victims Information vs. Protecting the Alleged Perpetrator
My older son recently graduated from 8th grade and is the Salutatorian of his graduating class. His speech was filled with humor and a deep understanding of the past. As he reviewed his speech with me, prior to presenting, I realized that his experiences and those of all his generation will outpace where we have been. The future for the next generation will be filled with new technology and new ways of apply information. I hope that information and technology will not be misused.

A new client just called my office and stated, that their son’s identity was stolen. It turns out that the son attempted to file his tax return electronically and the system would not allow the filing. The son called the IRS and Government would not tell him the extent of how much of his information was stolen. My client told me he just wanted to make sure that his children and wife's identify were not also stolen. The IRS refused to provide the information. In asking why the Government would not provide the information, the answer was ‘to protect the alleged perpetrator.'

Who is the victim? The one whose identity is allegedly stolen or the alleged thief?

The IRS has agreed to change its policy on identity theft and provide victims with copies of the fraudulent tax returns that have been filed under their names. This is a recent change. And it is not yet in effect. After the massive data breach last month in which criminals managed to access approximately 104,000 tax returns by using the IRS’s online Get Transcript application, I am unsure if the IRS will really release the right information to the right victim.

So the question is, with technology changing everyday, should you file your tax return the "old fashioned" way and submit a handwritten tax return using the US Postal Service?

Until next time,
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