Articles

Anti-Fraud Efforts by The IRS…

In Accounting & Finances, Business, Taxes on December 15, 2015 by Sufen Wang Tagged: , , , , ,

IRS Keeps on Truckin’ in Anti-Fraud Efforts with a W-2 Verification Code Test Drive

ID theft

Tis the Seasons!  Year end 2015 W-2s will be mailing out by January 31, 2016 and the IRS continues to wage war against identity thieves and other tax fraudsters via a Form W-2-Wage and Tax Statement-verification code pilot program. The program will test whether adding an authentication code on W-2 copies provided to employees will be “useful in evaluating the integrity of the W-2 data that taxpayers submit when they e-file their 1040s,” explained Scott Mezistrano of the IRS, during a payroll industry conference. Note the mention only of e-file: the code won’t be tried out on W-2s filed with paper Forms 1040, keeping in line with the IRS’s slow-but-sure transition to cyberspace.

Algorithm2The W-2 code dry run for tax year 2015 will be limited to a few, hand-picked payroll service providers (PSP), who will in turn hand pick some employer clients, whose employees will in turn receive W-2s with the brand spankin’ new codes on Copies B and C of the Form. Each code will be 16 characters long, like this – xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx – and will be generated by each PSP using a special IRS-provided algorithm. The kicker is that the algorithm will use certain data points from the W-2 to generate the code. So after the employee enters their unique code on their e-filed tax form, the IRS can check to make sure it matches the data on the Form W-2.

Form W2Since this is just a W-2 verification pilot program, no employee will get penalized if they forget to include their code or they submit the wrong one when they e-file. Their returns will be processed per the usual, along with their refunds. And while the trial will be limited in scope, don’t be surprised if you get a substitute Form W-2 with a verification code on it. While you aren’t obligated to partake in entering the code, your participation could end up helping other honest taxpayers down the road. If the process is successful, by as early as 2017 all Form W-2s could be updated to include a verification code box.

StolenIdentityConsidering the less-than-stellar quality of the IRS’s identity theft victim customer service, let’s hope the W-2 anti-fraud program does work out. All an identity thief really needs is your name, date of birth, Social Security Number, and no conscience whatsoever. Using your personal info, the criminal will file a tax return using fake W-2 information to try to get themselves – not you – as big of a refund as possible. If the trial is a home run, the W-2 verification program would make the lives of these low-lives a lot harder because they would need to enter the magic code that matches the W-2 data.

Sufen Wang, M.S.Accountancy
Wang Solutions, Long Beach, CA (562) 856-0793
Editor: Hannah Huff, M.F.A. Creative Writing: Poetry, (626) 806-5805

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: