IRS announced, last week, a nationwide expansion of its program designed to help law enforcement obtain tax return data vital to their local efforts in investigating and prosecuting cases of identity theft.
Federal law imposes restrictions on sharing of taxpayer information, including information that can be shared with state and local law enforcement. IRS has a program, though, which allows taxpayers the option to permit information to be shared with state and local law enforcement specifically to assist law enforcement officials with their efforts in pursuing identity thieves.
In January of this year, IRS conducted a very successful identity theft enforcement “sweep.” This nationwide effort against identity theft suspects led to 734 enforcement actions, including 298 indictments, complaints and arrests. During fiscal year 2012, IRS efforts led to 2,400 other enforcement actions against identity thieves.