The IRS is currently facing a substantial backlog of tax identity theft cases, with approximately 500,000 cases remaining unresolved as of April. This marks an increase from the 484,000 cases reported in September. Identity theft victims are left waiting for more than 22 months for resolution, in addition to the time it takes to receive their refunds.

The delays in resolving these cases have led to significant hardship for taxpayers, particularly lower-income individuals. According to National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins, nearly 70% of the cases involve taxpayers with an adjusted gross income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. The extended wait times for resolution and refunds have only worsened over the past several months, in part due to the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the challenges faced by the IRS, the agency is actively working on a range of improvements to address the backlog of identity theft cases. The IRS acknowledges that the delays in assisting victims are unacceptable and is committed to providing faster service. This includes allocating more resources to work on these cases, as well as reviewing existing processes and engaging with stakeholders to address evolving threats related to tax-related identity theft.

The IRS recognizes the complexity of identity theft cases and the time it takes to resolve them. However, with increased funding, the agency believes it is better equipped to handle these cases more efficiently. While taxpayer service has seen improvements during the 2024 season, the backlog of identity theft cases remains a significant challenge for the IRS.

In addition to assisting identity theft victims, the IRS has issued a warning to tax professionals to protect themselves against potential identity theft criminals who may be targeting them and their clients. By staying vigilant and implementing security measures, tax professionals can help prevent fraud and safeguard their clients’ sensitive information.

The ongoing backlog of tax identity theft cases at the IRS highlights the need for continued efforts to improve service and provide timely resolution for victims. By addressing the root causes of identity theft and implementing proactive measures, the IRS can work towards reducing the impact of tax-related fraud on taxpayers and maintaining the integrity of the tax system.

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