Get Transcript data breach more than three times as big, IRS announces

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

The breach of the IRS’s Get Transcript system in May was much larger than first reported, the IRS admitted on Monday. An additional 220,000 taxpayers had their tax return data stolen from the site, approximately tripling the number of victims to 334,000. According to the IRS, the criminals obtained enough taxpayer-specific information from outside sources that they were able to get through the Get Transcript authentication process.

In the statement, the IRS said it was “moving aggressively to protect taxpayers whose” accounts may have been compromised. It is notifying affected taxpayers and will also offer free credit monitoring services and give those taxpayers an opportunity to enroll in the special identity theft filing program, where taxpayers get confidential identity protection personal identification numbers (IP PINs) to use to file their returns. (In related news, last week the IRS announced that it will not assert that free identify protection services provided to victims of a data breach such as this one are taxable income to the recipients.)

The IRS shut down the online Get Transcript service when the breach was discovered and the service is still unavailable. Transcripts are available using the Get Transcript by Mail service.

Sally P. Schreiber ( is a JofA senior editor.


Year-end tax planning and what’s new for 2016

Practitioners need to consider several tax planning opportunities to review with their clients before the end of the year. This report offers strategies for individuals and businesses, as well as recent federal tax law changes affecting this year’s tax returns.


News quiz: Retirement planning, tax practice, and fraud risk

Recent reports focused on a survey that gauges the worries about retirement among CPA financial planners’ clients, a suit that affects tax practitioners, and a guide that offers advice on fraud risk. See how much you know with this short quiz.


Bolster your data defenses

As you weather the dog days of summer, it’s a good time to make sure your cybersecurity structure can stand up to the heat of external and internal threats. Here are six steps to help shore up your systems.