Text: S.2736 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (07/31/2014)


113th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 2736


To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to prevent identity theft related tax refund fraud, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 31, 2014

Mr. Hatch (for himself and Mr. Wyden) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance


A BILL

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to prevent identity theft related tax refund fraud, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title; etc.

(a) Short title.—This Act may be cited as the “Tax Refund Theft Prevention Act of 2014”.

(b) Amendment of 1986 Code.—Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

(c) Table of contents.—The table of contents of this Act is as follows:


Sec. 1. Short title; etc.

Sec. 2. Safe harbor for de minimis errors on information returns and payee statements.

Sec. 3. Internet platform for Form 1099 filings.

Sec. 4. Requirement that electronically prepared paper returns include scannable code.

Sec. 5. Single point of contact for identity theft victims.

Sec. 6. Criminal penalty for misappropriating taxpayer identity in connection with tax fraud.

Sec. 7. Extend Internal Revenue Service authority to require truncated social security numbers on Form W–2.

Sec. 8. Improvement in access to information in the National Directory of New Hires for tax administration purposes.

Sec. 9. Password system for prevention of identity theft tax fraud.

Sec. 10. Increased penalty for improper disclosure or use of information by preparers of returns.

Sec. 11. Increase electronic filing of returns.

Sec. 12. Increased real-time filing.

Sec. 13. Limitation on multiple individual income tax refunds to the same account.

Sec. 14. Identity verification required under due diligence rules.

Sec. 15. Report on refund fraud.

SEC. 2. Safe harbor for de minimis errors on information returns and payee statements.

(a) In general.—Subsection (c) of section 6721 is amended—

(1) by striking “Exception for de minimis failure to include all required information” in the heading and inserting “Exceptions for certain de minimis failures”,

(2) by striking “In general” in the heading of paragraph (1) and inserting “Exception for de minimis failure to include all required information”, and

(3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(3) SAFE HARBOR FOR CERTAIN DE MINIMIS ERRORS.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—If, with respect to an information return filed with the Secretary—

“(i) there are 1 or more failures described in subsection (a)(2)(B) relating to an incorrect dollar amount, and

“(ii) no single amount in error differs from the correct amount by more than $25,

then no correction shall be required and, for purposes of this section, such return shall be treated as having been filed with all of the correct required information.

“(B) EXCEPTION.—Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to returns required under section 6049.

“(C) REGULATORY AUTHORITY.—The Secretary may issue regulations to prevent the abuse of the safe harbor under this paragraph, including regulations providing that this subparagraph shall not apply to the extent necessary to prevent any such abuse.”.

(b) Failure To furnish correct payee statements.—Subsection (c) of section 6722 is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(3) SAFE HARBOR FOR CERTAIN DE MINIMIS ERRORS.—

“(A) IN GENERAL.—If, with respect to any payee statement—

“(i) there are 1 or more failures described in subsection (a)(2)(B) relating to an incorrect dollar amount, and

“(ii) no single amount in error differs from the correct amount by more than $25,

then no correction shall be required and, for purposes of this section, such statement shall be treated as having been filed with all of the correct required information.

“(B) EXCEPTION.—Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to payee statements required under section 6049.

“(C) REGULATORY AUTHORITY.—The Secretary may issue regulations to prevent the abuse of the safe harbor under this paragraph, including regulations providing that this subparagraph shall not apply to the extent necessary to prevent any such abuse.”.

(c) Conforming amendments.—

(1) Subsection (i) of section 408 is amended by striking “$10” and inserting “$25”.

(2) Paragraph (5) of section 3406(b) is amended—

(A) by striking “$10” both places it appears and inserting “$25”, and

(B) by adding at the end the following flush text:

“The preceding sentence shall not apply to payments of interest to which section 6049 applies.”.

(3) Subparagraphs (A) and (B) of section 6042(a)(1) are each amended by striking “$10” and inserting “$25”.

(4) Paragraph (2) of section 6042(a) is amended by striking “$10” and inserting “$25”.

(5) Paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 6044(a) are each amended by striking “$10” and inserting “$25”.

(6) Paragraph (1) of section 6047(d) is amended by striking “$10” and inserting “$25”.

(7) Subsection (a) of section 6050B is amended by striking “$10” and inserting “$25”.

(8) Subsection (a) of section 6050E is amended by striking “$10” and inserting “$25”.

(9) Paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 6050N(a) are each amended by striking “$10” and inserting “$25”.

(10) Paragraphs (1) and (2) of section 6652(a) are each amended by striking “$10” and inserting “$25”.

(11) The heading of subsection (a) of section 6652 is amended by striking “$10” and inserting “$25”.

(d) Effective date.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to information returns required to be filed, and payee statements required to be provided, on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 3. Internet platform for Form 1099 filings.

(a) In general.—Not later than 3 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury (or such Secretary's delegate) shall make available an Internet website or other electronic media, similar to the Business Services Online Suite of Services provided by the Social Security Administration, that will provide taxpayers access to resources and guidance provided by the Internal Revenue Service and will allow taxpayers to—

(1) prepare and file (in batches of not more than 50) Forms 1099,

(2) prepare Forms 1099 for distribution to recipients other than the Internal Revenue Service, and

(3) create and maintain necessary taxpayer records.

(b) Early implementation for Forms 1099–MISC.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Internet website under subsection (a) shall be available in a partial form that will allow taxpayers to take the actions described in such subsection with respect to Forms 1099–MISC required to be filed or distributed by such taxpayers.

SEC. 4. Requirement that electronically prepared paper returns include scannable code.

(a) In general.—Subsection (e) of section 6011 is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(5) SPECIAL RULE FOR RETURNS PREPARED ELECTRONICALLY AND SUBMITTED ON PAPER.—The Secretary shall require that any return of tax which is prepared electronically, but is printed and filed on paper, bear a code which can, when scanned, convert such return to electronic format.”.

(b) Conforming amendment.—Paragraph (1) of section 6011(e) is amended by striking “paragraph (3)” and inserting “paragraphs (3) and (5)”.

(c) Effective date.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to returns of tax the due date for which (determined without regard to extensions) is after December 31, 2014.

SEC. 5. Single point of contact for identity theft victims.

(a) In general.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury (or such Secretary's delegate) shall establish new procedures to ensure that any taxpayer whose return has been delayed or otherwise adversely affected due to misappropriation of the taxpayer's taxpayer identity (as defined in section 6103(b)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) has a single point of contact who—

(1) is an individual employee of the Internal Revenue Service, and

(2) tracks the case of the taxpayer from start to finish and coordinates with other specialized units to resolve case issues as quickly as possible.

(b) Change of contact.—The procedures under subsection (a) shall provide that the single point of contact may be changed—

(1) upon request of the taxpayer, or

(2) in any case where the individual employee ceases employment or is otherwise unavailable for any period, or a change is required to meet agency staffing needs, but only if the taxpayer is notified of any such change within 5 business days.

SEC. 6. Criminal penalty for misappropriating taxpayer identity in connection with tax fraud.

(a) In general.—Section 7206 is amended—

(1) by striking “Any person” and inserting the following:

“(a) In general.—Any person”, and

(2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

“(b) Misappropriation of identity.—Any person who willfully misappropriates another person's taxpayer identity (as defined in section 6103(b)(6)) for the purpose of making any list, return, account, statement, or other document submitted to the Secretary under the provisions of this title shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $250,000 ($500,000 in the case of a corporation) or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both, together with the costs of prosecution.”.

(b) Aggravated identity theft.—Section 1028A(c) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking “or” at the end of paragraph (10), by striking the period at the end of paragraph (11) and inserting “; or”, and by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(12) section 7206(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to misappropriation of identity in connection with tax fraud).”.

(c) Effective date.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to offenses committed on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 7. Extend Internal Revenue Service authority to require truncated social security numbers on Form W–2.

(a) In general.—Paragraph (2) of section 6051(a) is amended by striking “his social security number” and inserting “an identifying number for the employee”.

(b) Effective date.—The amendment made by this section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 8. Improvement in access to information in the National Directory of New Hires for tax administration purposes.

(a) In general.—Paragraph (3) of section 453(i) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 653(i)) is amended to read as follows:

“(3) ADMINISTRATION OF FEDERAL TAX LAWS RELATING TO FRAUD.—The Secretary of the Treasury shall have access to the information in the National Directory of New Hires for the sole purpose of identifying and preventing fraudulent tax return filings and claims for refund under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.”.

(b) Effective date.—The amendment made by this section shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 9. Password system for prevention of identity theft tax fraud.

(a) In general.—The Secretary of the Treasury shall implement an identity theft tax fraud prevention program under which any individual taxpayer may elect to be provided with a unique password which, as a result of such election, will be required to be included on any Federal tax return filed by such individual before the return will be processed. Such program shall be available not later than January 1 of the first calendar year beginning on or after the date that is 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(b) Study and report.—The Secretary of the Treasury shall conduct a study of the program under subsection (a) and, not later than 3 years after the January 1 date under such subsection, shall report to the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives on the efficacy of such program in reducing tax refund fraud. Such report shall include a recommendation as to whether the program under subsection (a) should be made mandatory, rather than elective, for all taxpayers.

SEC. 10. Increased penalty for improper disclosure or use of information by preparers of returns.

(a) In general.—Section 6713 is amended—

(1) by redesignating subsections (b) and (c) as subsections (c) and (d), respectively, and

(2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following new subsection:

“(b) Enhanced penalty for improper use or disclosure relating to identity theft.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—In the case of a disclosure or use described in subsection (a) that is made in connection with a crime relating to the misappropriation of another person's taxpayer identity (as defined in section 6103(b)(6)), whether or not such crime involves any tax filing, subsection (a) shall be applied—

“(A) by substituting ‘$1,000’ for ‘$250’, and

“(B) by substituting ‘$50,000’ for ‘$10,000’.

“(2) SEPARATE APPLICATION OF TOTAL PENALTY LIMITATION.—The limitation on the total amount of the penalty under subsection (a) shall be applied separately with respect to disclosures or uses to which this paragraph applies and to which it does not apply.”.

(b) Criminal penalty.—Section 7216(a) is amended by striking “$1,000” and inserting “$1,000 ($100,000 in the case of a disclosure or use to which section 6713(b) applies)”.

(c) Effective date.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to disclosures or uses after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 11. Increase electronic filing of returns.

(a) In general.—Subparagraph (A) of section 6011(e)(2) is amended by striking “250” and inserting “the applicable number of”.

(b) Applicable number.—Subsection (e) of section 6011, as amended by this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(6) APPLICABLE NUMBER.—For purposes of paragraph (2)(A), the applicable number is—

“(A) in the case of returns and statements relating to calendar years before 2015, 250,

“(B) in the case of returns and statements relating to calendar year 2015, 100,

“(C) in the case of returns and statements relating to calendar year 2016, 50, and

“(D) in the case of returns and statements relating to calendar years after 2016, 20.”.

(c) Returns filed by a tax return preparer.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subparagraph (A) of section 6011(e)(3) is amended to read as follows:

“(A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall require that—

“(i) any individual income tax return, and

“(ii) any return or statement under subpart B, C, or E of part III of this subchapter,

which is prepared by a tax return preparer be filed on magnetic media. The Secretary may waive the requirement of the preceding sentence if the Secretary determines, on the basis of an application by the tax return preparer, that the preparer cannot meet such requirement based on technological constraints (including lack of access to the Internet).”.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—Paragraph (3) of section 6011(e) is amended by striking subparagraph (B), and by redesignating subparagraph (C) as subparagraph (B).

(d) Effective dates.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to returns the due date for which (determined without regard to extensions) is after December 31, 2014.

SEC. 12. Increased real-time filing.

(a) Accelerated filing of forms W–2 and W–3.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Section 6071 is amended by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (d), and by inserting after subsection (b) the following new subsection:

“(c) Returns relating to employee wage information.—Returns and statements made under sections 6051 and 6052 shall be filed on or before February 15 of the year following the calendar year to which such returns relate.”.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—Subsection (b) of section 6071 is amended by striking “subparts B and C” and inserting “section 6053 and subpart B”.

(3) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this subsection shall apply to returns and statements relating to calendar years beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(b) Accelerated filing for certain forms 1099.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subsection (c) of section 6071, as amended by subsection (a), is amended—

(A) by striking “wage information” in the heading and inserting “wage information and Forms 1099–MISC”, and

(B) by inserting “, and any return which is filed on Form 1099–MISC,” after “6052”.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—Subsection (b) of section 6071, as amended by this Act, is amended by striking “section 6053 and subpart B of part III of this subchapter” and inserting “subpart B of part III of this subchapter (other than returns filed on Form 1099–MISC)”.

(3) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by this subsection shall apply to returns relating to calendar years beginning after December 31, 2014.

(c) Study regarding administrative implementation.—Not later than January 1, 2017, the Secretary of the Treasury shall report to the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives including—

(1) a recommendation of whether the due dates for filing Forms W–2 and W–3 with the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration should be accelerated to January 31 to match the due date for furnishing copies of such forms to the recipient of the reported income,

(2) recommendations for processes—

(A) to match the information reported on Forms W–2 and Forms 1099–MISC for the effective processing of returns and accurate determination of refunds, and

(B) to correct errors on such documents, and

(3) any other recommendations such Secretary may have for accelerating information reporting, including the identification of any other forms that should be due on an accelerated schedule in order to prevent tax refund fraud.

SEC. 13. Limitation on multiple individual income tax refunds to the same account.

(a) In general.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury shall issue regulations that restrict the delivery or deposit of multiple individual income tax refunds from the same tax year to the same individual account or mailing address.

(b) Exception.—The regulation promulgated under subsection (a) shall provide that the restrictions shall not apply in cases and situations where the Secretary of the Treasury determines there is not a likelihood of tax fraud.

SEC. 14. Identity verification required under due diligence rules.

(a) In general.—Subsection (g) of section 6695 is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: “Such due diligence requirements shall include a requirement that such preparer verify (in such manner and with such documentation as the Secretary shall provide) the identity of the taxpayer with respect to such return or claim for refund.”.

(b) Effective date.—The amendment made by this section shall apply to returns or claims for refund filed after December 31, 2014.

SEC. 15. Report on refund fraud.

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Secretary of the Treasury (or the Secretary's delegate) shall report to the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives on the extent and nature of fraud involving the use of a misappropriated taxpayer identity with respect to claims for refund under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 during the preceding completed income tax filing season, and the detection, prevention, and enforcement activities undertaken by the Internal Revenue Service with respect to such fraud, including—

(1) the development of fraud detection filters and how they are or may be updated and improved;

(2) the effectiveness of fraud detection activities, and the ways in which such effectiveness is measured; and

(3) the methods by which such Service categorizes of refund fraud, and the amounts of fraud that are associated with each category.


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