Schneier on Security
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April 7, 2006
Taxpayer Data and the IRS
Good information from EPIC on the security of tax data in the IRS.
Posted on April 7, 2006 at 7:30 AM
• 13 Comments
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Social Security numbers are considered the "keys to the kingdom"
Not the kingdom of heaven, I take it.
What happens if they get flooded with fake e-file data? Do the computers start sending refunds based on data? Can the system be gamed?
It's not our money, the computer just sent a 1,000,000 checks with nobody checking the data or data for leaks.
Fake passports, fake SS cards and illegal fruit pickers get refunds. The need for cheap labor justifies all sorts of crime and facilitates it.
What needs to be done?
Identity Agency of the United States needs to be created.
Everyone needs to be given a number probably an IPv6 number would be best and then all other agencies should tie back to the back number.
So all other govt bodies need to then have identify information removed and just have pointers to the central database at the IA.
Personal information could then only be pulled if the correct procedures were completed.
Bad as the Dept of Treasury down grade from D+ (2004) to D- (2005) on the Federal Computer Security Report Card was, it's realy realy scary to see the Nuclear Regulatory Commission downgraded from B+ (2004) to D- (2005).
"what happens if they're flooded with fake ... data?"
The IRS is already flooded with fake data.
Consider these poorly-researched articles on illegal immigrants that describe them as "law-abiding, tax-paying residents".
Aside from the fact that their mere entry and continued residence into the country actually means that they're breaking the law every second, you have to ask "how do these people pay tax?"
Either they don't pay income tax, or they pay using a stolen SSN.
So, every one of these "law abiding, tax-paying residents" is contributing false data to the IRS.
Thank you, alun, for your "balanced" and "informed" remarks.
we have something called "withholding" in this country. you want them to pick the crops for free?
Alun is right. Illegal immigrants file falsified I-9 and W-4 forms every day, and unscrupulous employers endorse them. The employer doesn't attempt to verify the SSN, and can claim ignorance in the event of an audit. The taxes are withheld and paid into the accounts of the people whose SSNs were used on the fake W-4s. Come tax season, the W-2 doesn't match what was actually paid, and it is left to the IRS to sort it out. Which, of course, it has neither the staff nor the competence to do.
Whoah. Everybody yelling at Alun for describing the state of affairs needs to be a little less judgemental. I didn't read his statements as judging that illegal immigrants are good or bad people. However, the "illegal" in "illegal immigrants" really does mean that they are breaking the law. And if they're paying taxes, then whose social security numbers are they using? So, people who are in the country illegally are either also committing tax fraud or are filing under false information, which may also be tax fraud.
That's not a statement of moral right or wrong, just a statement of legal status. We can work to change the legal status without jumping all over people that point out that the IRS is already dealing with people who are in violation of federal law.
I heard that there is a law that prevents the IRS from reporting back to the employer when they receive a fake SS Number. People use fake SSN all the time when signing up. Has anybody ever been fired for putting a false SSN on a W-4? I heard that there was a law or a ruling that prevents the IRS from reporting that a SSN is false. Does anyone have substantiation for this?
The scariest part is that IRS assigns ITINs, without the least regard for documenting the identity of the "taxpayers". If it's "notarized", it's good enough for IRS. A notarized copy of a fax of a birth certificate is valid. Copies of documents, obviously doctored, are okay, because they are "notarized." You wouldn't believe how may dependents, back "home", some "taxpayers" claim. Signatures don't match, no problem, it's notarized.
I think the tax number concept is valid; but the execution is poor. I mean, just google " fake id".
how do I report an individual who I suspect has used false ss numbers to get employment?
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