back to article Intuit halts TurboTax filings after states spot mass tax fraud scheme

Accounting software maker Intuit has temporarily suspended the ability of its TurboTax software to electronically file US state income tax returns following reports of widespread suspicious activity. "During this tax season, Intuit and some states have seen an increase in suspicious filings and attempts by criminals to use …

  1. CaptSmeg

    Ha ha!

    that is all

  2. Asok Asus

    Why is TT punishing the rest of us by stopping ALL state filing because of some fraudsters they've noticed? It's the job of the IRS to deal with fraudsters, not TT (unless TT itself is somehow responsible for the fraud).

    BTW, I'M SO glad I took H&R Block up on their offer for free H&R Deluxe for POed customers of TT Deluxe that Intuit secretly gutted this year! H&R Block Deluxe installs faster (without ANY permanent updater/anti-piracy background services clogging up my PC forever like TT does), runs faster, has a cleaner, less cluttered interface, less BS up-selling popups, and in general is less annoying than TT. PLUS it comes with FIVE free Federal e-files compared to the gutted TT Deluxe which has only one free Fed e-file. I'm going to take my unopened TT Deluxe back to Costco and get my fifty bucks back and NEVER going back to TT!

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      The problem seems to be with the states not the Feds. This fraud is a state level crime not a federal. If they file IRS forms fraudulently, then it's a federal crime.

      The big problem seems to filing from home via the Internet. HR Block have you come into the office, check ID, etc. Intuit doesn't since they don't have offices.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Both H&R and Intuit go through some back end database but it's likely that H&R have the advantage of being on their own network (VPN?) while TT shoots through whomever you've got. The other side of the coin is that most if not all the players have an online tax preparation that is done in your browser. To me the browser seems the most likely attack vector. But then what the hell do I know as I'm far from being a security expert - I don't put on sneakers to outrun the bear.

        I'm lucky enough to have a former IRS auditor in the family who is willing to do my taxes for a plane ticket out of the New England winter to spend a couple of weeks in SoCal's sun and a few barbeques. I must remember to ask if the ticket is a deductible expense or if it counts toward my lifetime gift contribution.

        1. jonathanb Silver badge

          It is not the browser or software per se that is the attack vector. It is the fact that they accept returns from anyone without verifying who they are.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      HMRC had the same problem in the UK, on their own website, with people filing bogus tax credit applications. Now you have to ask for a claim form to be posted to your home address. It seems the state governments in the US are thinking the same way.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You can get it done just as fast and way cheaper at www.freetaxusa.com. No gimmicks, federal always free, states only 12.95, calculations guaranteed. Free to try, only pay when you file. You may even qualify for free state, too, details on the web site.

      Full disclosure, I work for them. We try really hard to offer the best deal around. You can compare your return with us against HRB, TT, or anyone else for free, and if we're not a better deal you're free to file with someone else, you're not locked in with us just by creating a free account.

  3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Who are the victims?

    "...to customers who believe they are the victims of tax fraud."

    The States' losses I think. Even with my overactive imagination, I can't think of any mechanism to charge these fraudulent refunds back onto the individuals whose ID was stolen. So... "the victims of tax fraud" are the States, not the customers.

    Meanwhile in Canada, the CRA used to mail out a PIN to be used for e-filing. They replaced that safety feature with magic and National Technical Means.

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Who are the victims?

      Well I suspect most states are the same so the States' loss effectively becomes the individuals loss for the better part of a year. Sure, like all things some are better than others but when you consider that after I filed last February California sent me a letter in March to say they couldn't directly deposit my refunded overpayment, there were no problems with my return and that they would be mailing me a check later. Naturally, I couldn't help but wonder why the check wasn't in the same envelope. In keeping with the bureaucratic tradition of the Great Byzantine Republic of California the check arrived early July and was dated on my niece's birthday, 27th June.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who are the victims?

      "Meanwhile in Canada, the CRA [...] replaced that safety feature"

      But they only remit refunds according to the information on file and you cannot change that onlline.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who are the victims?

      "Meanwhile in Canada, the CRA used to mail out a PIN to be used for e-filing. They replaced that safety feature with magic and National Technical Means."

      The Australian Tax Office used to require a code from a previous years' return letter to prove who you were. But gone are those days - they now use the "security" of the federal government's "MyGov" system, which verifies you by luck, uses magic for security and promises nothing will ever go wrong with your data*.

      * Should something go wrong with your data, please create a new account using a different email address.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a huge fraud and the IRS and US Govt are to blame...

    US federal obsession that everybody must file taxes has led us to this sad point... It shows how damaging fast access to easy Tax refunds really is... Part of simplifying the tax code (that no one ever takes on), should allow for life long salaried employees to be exempt. I've always seen April filing as a Con for anybody except the retail Tax filling shops!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: This is a huge fraud and the IRS and US Govt are to blame...

      The fraud is occurring at the state tax level, not federal.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This is a huge fraud and the IRS and US Govt are to blame...

        @ecofeco

        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/irs-scam-identity-tax-refund-fraud-60-minutes/

        Bigger picture, this type of fraud has been going on for years at a much larger level namely Federal. Whereas state taxes are a mere fraction of federal. The states are getting of late for sure, but this enforced *you must file* state and federal tax merry-go-around just serves to screw everyone.

        We need a Flat Tax rate and optional filing!

        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/irs-scam-identity-tax-refund-fraud-60-minutes/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: This is a huge fraud and the IRS and US Govt are to blame...

          Wow! Enjoy your tax filing downvoters.... This year and every other...

  5. earl grey Silver badge
    Mushroom

    I never file electronically

    Since the feds discontinued the abbreviated tax form (just sections and numbers), and i refuse to give my income and tax details to someone else for transmission... I just mail them a stack of paper each year and make them go through it. Suits me just fine.

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