Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, and revealed that somewhere around 100,000 taxpayers may have had their personal information stolen due to an online security breach at the IRS.
According to Koskinen, identity thieves took advantage of a bug in one of its web-based data tools that allowed it to file false tax returns that could have potentially cost the federal government millions had it not been caught.
From the Washington Times:
The agency’s “data retrieval tool” is designed to import financial records between the IRS and the Department of Education’s website to help taxpayers completing a lengthy college financial aid form know as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. According to the commissioner, however, criminals harnessed a security flaw within the tool to steal other people’s data and then file and collect false tax returns.
Koskinen says the IRS had disabled the tool last month, but not before issuing 8,000 fake tax returns, costing $30 million. 14,000 others were spotted by investigators before the refunds went out, and 52,000 were stopped before anything could happen at all.
Despite Koskinen stating that they were able to stop the problem before it got too out of hand, he reveals that the agency had known about the problem since October.
“To shut it down without a clear indication of criminals actually using it seemed to us that it was going to unnecessarily disadvantage millions of people who used it,” he told the committee.
Reportedly, 15 members of the House Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to President Donald Trump that Koskinen needs to be replaced due to his failure.
“I have lost all faith in Commissioner Koskinen’s ability to lead the IRS,” Committee Chairman and Texas Republican Kevin Brady said Wednesday. “He has been dishonest with Congress, and the IRS — under his watch — has continuously violated taxpayer rights. He has to go.”