The IRS, state authorities and the tax preparation industry have joined together to combat identity thieves rushing to file their bogus state and federal returns in your name while you're still gathering your paperwork, NBC News reported.
The unprecedented public-private partnership, known as the Security Summit Initiative, is aimed at slowing the flood of phony tax returns filed each year by imposters armed with stolen Social Security numbers and counterfeit paperwork that can allow them to claim big refunds before the real taxpayers - whose identities they've assumed - can file their legitimate returns.
Identity thieves have been quite successful at fooling the IRS and state taxing authorities in recent years. The IRS reported that in 2013, it paid out $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds to identity thieves.
Preventing this fraud is now a top priority at the IRS because the phony tax returns are pouring in. In the first 11 months of last year, the agency stopped payment on 1.4 million returns that were filed by identity thieves attempting to claim refunds of $8 billion.