The Utah State Tax Commission has discovered a number of attempts to file fraudulent income tax returns for the 2014 filing season. The fraudulent filings originate from data compromised through a third-party commercial tax preparation software process and were detected through the Tax Commission’s fraud detection systems. All information in the State’s tax computer system remains secure and has not been compromised.
To this point, 28 fraudulent filings have been identified, though the Tax Commission has flagged 8,000 returns as potentially fraudulent. Utah taxpayers who filed state income tax returns electronically prior to 2014 through third-party vendors are potentially affected. The Tax Commission is reaching out individually to alert those who are confirmed to have been victimized.
“We take very seriously our responsibility to protect the personal information of Utah taxpayers,” said John Valentine, Chairman of the Utah Tax Commission. “Our systems have not been compromised but we feel it is our responsibility to alert taxpayers who have potentially had their personal information compromised by a third-party tax preparation service, so they can take the necessary steps to protect themselves.” The Tax Commission has been contacted by some taxpayers who received a Tax Commission identity verification questionnaire because they had not yet filed their return. Upon further investigation, the Tax Commission identified an increasing number of taxpayers whose information was contained in nongovernment systems that appeared to have been compromised. The Tax Commission was also notified by some taxpayers as they tried to file their returns through Intuit/TurboTax, that they received a message that their return had already been filed.
Thus far, 18 other states have identified similar problems. The Tax Commission is taking extra precautions to verify filings and refunds to ensure that the correct taxpayer receives his or her proper refund. The Tax Commission uses all available technology and resources to help protect and secure all taxpayer data. When inconsistencies in returns are identified, the Commission will send identification verification questionnaires to individual taxpayers.
“We will continue to work with all commercial vendors to strengthen protection of taxpayers’ identification and confidential information,” said Valentine.
Taxpayers who have concerns about the security of their personal information provided to a tax preparation software service should contact that provider.
Taxpayers may verify the current status of their state income tax return by going to taxexpress.utah.gov where detailed instructions are provided.