The IRS and its partners in the Security Summit—the agency’s public-private partnership to combat identity tax fraud—are praising their effort’s progress, stating that reports of identity theft have fallen by 71 percent in the last three years.

Between 2015 and 2018, the number of filed identity theft affidavits fell to 199,000 reports in 2018 from 677,000 in 2015, the IRS said in an April 8 news release (IR-2019-66). During that same period, the IRS has protected a combined $24 billion in fraudulent refunds, with financial industry partnerships recovering an additional $1.4 billion.

“At a time when many in the private sector continue to struggle with these issues, the tax community has made major progress working together to stop identity theft and refund fraud,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said in the news release.

  • Two areas of concern moving forward are business identity theft and data theft from tax professionals, the agency said.
  • And business identity theft is up. The number of businesses reporting they were victims of tax-related identity theft increased by 10 percent in 2018, with 2,450 reports compared with 2,233 in 2017.