Internal Revenue Service commissioner John Koskinen speaking at an unrelated event.
As if dealing with student loan debt isn’t enough stress for students and their families, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that an online security breach related to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the IRS Data Retrieval Tool might have compromised the personal data of 100,000 applicants.
The tool was disabled in March after fears that cybercriminals would attempt to use it to file fraudulent tax returns according to the IRS. In a testimonial to the Senate Finance Committee, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen admitted that there were security concerns over the data retrieval tool, stating concerns for “the misuse of taxpayer data by criminals masquerading as students.” He went on to admit that the tool will remain inactive until long term solutions are decided upon.
While many students filed the FAFSA early, there is worry that low-income students might not have received the guidance needed to get their information in ahead of the March deadline and the tool’s shutdown. In light of the data tool’s shutdown, lawmakers have asked states to push back their financial aid deadlines since colleges and universities use the FAFSA data to help them dole out aid dollars.
IRS Commissioner Koskinen stated that around 8,000 fake refunds were issued that totaled $30 million. The IRS was able to prevent an additional 14,000 sham refunds from being mailed out and stopped another 52,000 returns according to the Washington Post.
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