Beginning this week, Revenue is removing all but the last four digits of individual social security numbers (SSNs) from its personal income tax information and billing notices, similar to the way credit card numbers are displayed on printed receipts. Taxpayers will instead be provided a new, unique Division of Revenue “Account Number” for use on all state income tax correspondence.
The new account number system is part of an overall effort by the Division of Revenue to increase taxpayer protection against identity theft. This push is the result of a nation-wide discussion by tax agencies to make taxpayer mailings more secure.
“Unfortunately, the delivery of information to the appropriate hands cannot be guaranteed,” says Carter, “so it is especially important to safeguard the personal data of taxpayers, and that’s why we have expended a great amount of effort to secure each individual’s social security number.”
Carter further says that “Although we are not aware of any income tax documents aiding identity theft in Delaware, the new taxpayer Account Numbers will ensure that even should someone inadvertently receive another’s income tax notice, this person won’t have access to the social security number. Revenue is hoping to help mitigate identity theft and, in doing so, further protect our taxpayers from these types of crimes.”
Each year the Delaware Division of Revenue sends out more than 70,000 personal income statements or bills containing individual SSNs. The majority of these documents are sent in May, immediately following the state and federal personal income tax season.