In July 2011, in response to growing public concern over employment-related identity theft, the Treasury General for Tax Administration announced that the Internal Revenue Service could do more to assist taxpayers by informing them if fraudulent income was being reported under their social security numbers.

This commonly occurs when an SSN is misused by an individual to obtain employment. TIGTA wanted the IRS to identify and flag tax returns that had an SSN on third-party documents, but the tax return was being filed with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number as its tax identifier. Once the return was flagged with this ITIN/SSN mismatch, the SSN owner would be notified their number had been used on someone else’s return. During tax years 2009-2013, the IRS ITIN program found that an average of 24 million annual individual tax returns contained discrepancies in the form of an ITIN/SSN mismatch.

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