Technology GAO urges IRS to adopt tougher data security as TurboTax grapples with compromised accounts
Fact check: Viral meme compares Al Sharpton's tax troubles with Willie Nelson's
A viral meme claims Al Sharpton owes $19 million in back taxes while Willie Nelson was punished for owing $16 million. We rate it partly false.Recently, users have shared a Facebook post written about Sharpton on April 9, 2016, comparing his case to one involving country singer Willie Nelson.
The IRS and Government Accountability Office are locked in a dispute over data security, according toto Charles Rettig, commissioner of the IRS.
On Monday, the GAO said that since May 2019 it has suggested the IRS "develop a governance structure or steering committee to coordinate all aspects of IRS's efforts to protect taxpayer information while at third-party providers."
Since then, the IRS has said it agrees with the recommendation but does not believe it has the "explicit authority to establish security requirements for the information systems of paid preparers and others who electronically file," according to the GAO report.
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"Doesn't that frighten you at all?" 'Cavuto' stand-in host David Asman asked.Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have for months touted an IRS funding increase that would allow the tax agency to better enforce collection from wealthy Americans who hide an estimated $1 trillion each year.
"We continue to believe that IRS could implement this recommendation without additional statutory authority," the GAO letter said. "Without this structure, it is unclear how IRS will adapt to changing security threats in the future and ensure those threats are mitigated."
Jessica Lucas-Judy, a GAO director overseeing work on the IRS, explained in the letter that the IRS continues to hold this view and reiterated their stance in January.
Lucas-Judy added that the only way the IRS feels it could establish data safeguarding policies and implement strategies enforcing compliance with those policies would be through a "centralized leadership structure" that would need statutory authority clearly communicating the authority of IRS to do so.
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According to the IRS, beefing up data security would be "inefficient, ineffective, and costly use of resources" without the authority of a leadership structure.
But Lucas-Judy said the IRS has seven different offices across the agency working on information security-related activities that "could benefit from centralized oversight and coordination."
"These activities include updating existing standards, monitoring Authorized e-file Provider program compliance, and tracking security incident reports," Lucas-Judy wrote.
The GAO report came just days after Intuit was forced to notify TurboTax users of a breach following a series ofearlier this month, according to Bleeping Computer. Attackers gained full access to the tax returns of an unknown number of people and Intuit was forced to disable the compromised accounts.
"By accessing your account, the unauthorized party may have obtained information contained in a prior year's tax return or your current tax return in progress, such as your name, Social Security number, address(es), date of birth, driver's license number and financial information (e.g., salary and deductions), and information of other individuals contained in the tax return," Intuit said in a breach notification letter.
Macron to reduce French military troops in Africa's Sahel
PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday announced the future reduction of France’s military presence fighting Islamic extremism in Africa’s Sahel region. In a news conference, Macron spoke about the “profound transformation" of France’s military operation in Mali and neighboring countries — without giving a timeframe. France's Operation Barkhane will formally end, he said, and will be replaced by another mission focused on fighting Islamic extremists that relies more on regional partners.
The breach was discovered during a security review that was regularly scheduled. The companywhose accounts are accessed "by a third party using legitimate log-in credentials that Intuit believes were obtained from sources outside the company." Intuit confirmed in this instance that it was not a "systemic data breach."
Yaniv Bar-Dayan, CEO of Vulcan Cyber, said the IRS needed to be more urgent about protecting itself against cyber threats considering the government is still dealing with the ramifications of the.
"Unfortunately threat actors aren't going to sit around and wait. The creation of a 'governance structure' from scratch isn't necessary," Bar-Dayan said.
"The IRS should ride the coattails of cyber governance, risk and compliance frameworks that have already been successfully implemented by the largest public and private financial institutions in the world. Most importantly, take proactive steps now to protect IRS operations and taxpayer data and funds through risk remediation initiatives."
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The massive leak of billionaires' tax data has imperiled what support there might have been from Republicans to back President Joe Biden's plan to give more money and authority to the IRS. © Provided by Washington Examiner On Tuesday investigative nonprofit organization ProPublica released details about the tax returns of thousands of the nation’s wealthiest people, a leak so expansive it covered some 15 years.
TurboTax creator Intuit leaves the IRS' free tax filing program .
TurboTax creator Intuit has had a chilly relationship with the IRS, and now it's cutting some of its involvement. The Hillreports that Intuit is leaving the IRS' Free File program after participating for almost 20 years. The company said it was "proud" of its involvement, but claimed the limits of the program and "conflicting demands" from outside the program left it with little choice but to leave. An exit would let Intuit concentrate on "further innovating" in ways the IRS Free File program didn't allow, the company said.