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And even more woes for Intuit and Turbotax
Old 02-17-2015, 07:32 AM   #1
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And even more woes for Intuit and Turbotax

Saw this in today's Wall Street Breakfast report:

Top lawmakers in the House and Senate have begun their own probes into a recent wave of fraudulent tax filings made through Intuit's TurboTax, highlighting a growing problem in the "e-filing" industry. IRS data shows that the issue has grown rapidly, to a record of almost 2M suspected incidents by 2013 from about 440K in 2010. The federal government estimates it blocked about $24B in attempts, but still lost about $5.2B in 2013, due to fraudulent e-filings.

Intuit earnings are out tomorrow, too. That won't reflect the recent bone head moves, but the questions and answers to follow should be interesting.

Intuit CEO Girds for Toughest Tax Season on TurboTax Travails - Bloomberg Business
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:45 AM   #2
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"… but still lost about $5.2B in 2013, due to fraudulent e-filings."

That $5.2B makes the recent reports of hacker attacks at banks kind of an afterthought.
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:53 AM   #3
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I wonder what sort of impact to fraudulent filings we'd see if the IRS stopped offering refunds on pre-paid debit cards? Makes it way too easy to take the money and run...
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:16 AM   #4
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I wonder what sort of impact to fraudulent filings we'd see if the IRS stopped offering refunds on pre-paid debit cards? Makes it way too easy to take the money and run...
True, and a very good point. Problem is, almost 10M households have no bank account (FDIC source here). There is surprisingly little (or no) verification of identity (of filers) taking place by third parties, processors, or the Treasury Dept for tax returns.

The greater challenge here is not how to remedy this but how to pay for the remedy. No one wants to pay, be inconvenienced, or jeopardize profits.
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:48 AM   #5
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I wonder what sort of impact to fraudulent filings we'd see if the IRS stopped offering refunds on pre-paid debit cards? Makes it way too easy to take the money and run...
Yep!

There are a lot of working poor who don't have bank accounts and rely on pre-paid cards, but this is way too easy a venue for fraud.
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:48 AM   #6
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I wonder what sort of impact to fraudulent filings we'd see if the IRS stopped offering refunds on pre-paid debit cards? Makes it way too easy to take the money and run...
Is that the IRS doing that or just a service offered by the prep companies. Yea that would seem to be asking for fraud.

5 Ways To Receive Your Tax Refund

Prepaid Cards
Many tax preparation companies allow taxpayers to place their refunds onto debit cards for convenience.
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:51 AM   #7
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I don't think this article is necessarily more woes for Intuit - I think it's the same story - just more details. Good article!

$24B in fraud prevented, $5.2B got through. The numbers are indeed staggering.
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:24 AM   #8
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I don't think this article is necessarily more woes for Intuit - I think it's the same story - just more details. Good article!

$24B in fraud prevented, $5.2B got through. The numbers are indeed staggering.
I think it is more woe, as Congress is now looking at them. Probably will pull all the other companies in for a talk. Then grandstand and do nothing that's effective.

But the effect is to continue to portray the company in a bad light. Much of it is deserved, IMO.

There's a lot of damage done, and it appears that the stock is in for a serious slide...
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:37 AM   #9
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Should limit refunds to ACH to pre-noted bank account. That was how my Belgian taxes worked. Almost impossible to transfer money to anyone but the taxpayer.

Checks are a primitive and fraud-ridden form of financial transactions.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:01 AM   #10
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I think it is more woe, as Congress is now looking at them. Probably will pull all the other companies in for a talk. Then grandstand and do nothing that's effective.

But the effect is to continue to portray the company in a bad light. Much of it is deserved, IMO.

There's a lot of damage done, and it appears that the stock is in for a serious slide...
Congress is looking at the whole picture including the tremendous IRS tax return fraud numbers.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:02 AM   #11
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Should limit refunds to ACH to pre-noted bank account. That was how my Belgian taxes worked. Almost impossible to transfer money to anyone but the taxpayer.

Checks are a primitive and fraud-ridden form of financial transactions.
There are a lot of tax payers who don't have bank accounts. They have to be accommodated somehow.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:40 AM   #12
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Maybe the government needs to allow 2 factor authentication? Would at least protect middle income and higher tax payers like everyone reading this.
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:41 AM   #13
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There are a lot of tax payers who don't have bank accounts. They have to be accommodated somehow.
How about a transfer (or even mailing a check) to a nearby bank, where the recipient could go in with proof of identity and get the cash? Too much hassle?
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:28 PM   #14
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There are a lot of tax payers who don't have bank accounts. They have to be accommodated somehow.
Hmm, the USPS has suffered from excess capacity and declining revenues. Give them the job of verifying identities and handing over the checks to payees (Treasury transfers $5 per check to USPS for the service?) if a person doesn't have a bank account.

Oh--what about payees without bank accounts or ID? Some people are opposed to making people produce IDs during interactions with the government.

Maybe: No bank account= refunds are available only as a credit toward next year's tax liability?

Anything that makes it tougher to get refunds will reduce the proclivity of people to overwithhold . The loss of that huge amount of ongoing "float" for government use is probably a bigger source of worry to govt fiscal planners than a few billion $ in fraudulent refunds.
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:26 AM   #15
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I wonder what sort of impact to fraudulent filings we'd see if the IRS stopped offering refunds on pre-paid debit cards? Makes it way too easy to take the money and run...
Interesting series in the Miami Herald this morning on tax return-filing fraud. It seems there are two significant contributing factors, when combined they create an opportunity for fraud. One is the pre-paid debit card refund. The other is the mandate to the IRS to issue fast refunds - they must process a tax return before the employer has submitted W-2 data to them. Ripping off your refunds: South Florida’s booming tax fraud racket | The Miami Herald The Miami Herald
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:49 AM   #16
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That was a sad read. It was a surprise to me that employee gets W-2 well in advance of the IRS. This hole will probably be patched, but crooks will find another entry point.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:05 AM   #17
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That was a sad read. It was a surprise to me that employee gets W-2 well in advance of the IRS. This hole will probably be patched, but crooks will find another entry point.
True, but that is a huge hole easily patched, the companies already have the data, as it was sent to employees, and when patched it will cut down considerably on the frauds successes.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:28 AM   #18
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Yep!

There are a lot of working poor who don't have bank accounts and rely on pre-paid cards, but this is way too easy a venue for fraud.
Why not, many banks offer free checking or saving account without minimal balance.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:44 AM   #19
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There are a lot of tax payers who don't have bank accounts. They have to be accommodated somehow.
Somehow, much of the developed world has solved this problem.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:44 AM   #20
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Why not, many banks offer free checking or saving account without minimal balance.
In reality there seem to be a large number of working poor with no bank accounts. Don't know why this persists. Perhaps that minimal balance is still too much of a hurdle.

Issuing wages on pre-paid debit cards (used to be cash) has becomes popular. And then there are all those payday loan places - shudder!!
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