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Issue 35920

IRS Check Endorsement

Issue Statement: My personal check for 2016 Tax Return Balance Due cleared my bank. When I looked at the image, the endorsement showed the first 4 letters of my last name and my full social security number. In the age of Identity Theft and the precautions taken by government agencies, I would think this would be a practice that should be discontinued. My recommendation would be to find an alternative method for identifying a check remittance. Perhaps a cross- reference number assigned to the 1040-V and used on the remittance check or some other means. Thank you for listening.

Goal Statement: To determine if the IRS may be putting taxpayers at risk of identity theft by possibly exposing their social security numbers (SSNs).

TAP RECOMMENDATION

Have the IRS determine if their endorsements for tax payments or for any tax related checks are including the taxpayer’s SSN. If true then the IRS should look into possible alternatives that would not include the taxpayer’s SSN such as a different tracking method.

IRS Action:Not adopted

Thank you for your recommendation regarding the social security number (SSN) appearing on cancelled checks.

We use the taxpayer identification number (TIN)/SSN as the taxpayer’s IRS account number. The TIN/SSN is also part of the 56-digit audit trail endorsement, printed on the back of each check/ remittance, during the Electronic Check Presentment (ECP) process. Various functions/areas within the IRS use this audit trail to resolve payment issues. There are strict controls in place to mitigate the risk of unauthorized access to remittances and the information contained in the audit trail. With the use of ECP, the paper check is destroyed, and the image is shared only with the taxpayers’ financial institution.

We do offer the taxpayers the option to securely submit payments via IRS Direct Pay on the IRS.gov website. The use of Direct Pay is a free service in which taxpayers receive instant confirmation of their payment.

Based on the above information we will not be adopting the recommendation.

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2019 TAP Annual Report

The 2019 TAP Annual Report highlights our key recommendations to improve IRS customer service and summarizes our key accomplishments and activities, including the 224 recommendations submitted to the IRS in 2019.

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