Tax News

Understanding the IRS’s “Get Transcript” Data Breach

August 17, 2015 : H&R Block

Update: The IRS has now said that additional tax accounts were potentially compromised in the May 2015 data breach.

“Your personal information has been illegally accessed.” It’s something that no one wants to hear – especially when it pertains to your tax information. Unfortunately, it does happen—even to the IRS.

That’s right. In May, the IRS announced that criminals acquired personal information from approximately 100,000 tax accounts through a “Get Transcript” data breach. Here’s what you need to know about the breach:

What happened?

Thieves used personal information of taxpayers – like Social Security numbers, birth date, tax filing status and street address – to log into the IRS “Get Transcript” site. How did they get that information? Likely from identity thefts that occurred outside the tax return or IRS. From February to mid-May, there were approximately 200,000 attempts by third parties to gain unauthorized access to information through the “Get Transcript” online application, according to the IRS. Roughly half of the attempts were successful, resulting in about 100,000 accounts that were accessed illegally.

Above all else, the IRS has made assurances that its main computer system, which handles tax-filing submissions, was not affected and remains secure.

What now?

The IRS has temporarily shut down the “Get Transcript” application to modify and strengthen its security and is sending letters to all 200,000 taxpayers whose accounts had attempted accesses. For the 100,000 taxpayers whose accounts were successfully accessed, the IRS is offering FREE credit monitoring services.

How H&R Block can help you

H&R Block offers its clients Tax Identity Shield® to help better protect against fraudulent tax return submissions. Benefits Tax Identity Shield® members receive include:

  • Assistance setting up additional IRS protections like an identity protection PIN (IP PIN) or fraud indicator flag1
  • A tax eFile notification if your information is detected on a tax return filed through H&R Block
  • Tax identity theft risk assessment

Learn more about Tax Identity Shield®.

1 Qualifying individuals only. See for qualifications.


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