After second bungle, IRS suspends Equifax's "taxpayer identity" contract

How to Protect Your Identity After the Equifax Breach

How to Protect Your Identity After the Equifax Breach

The IRS has temporarily suspended its $7 million contract with Equifax following reports of new security issues.

The decision comes one week after the agency received a torrent of criticism from members of Congress and the public for the award and less than one month after Equifax revealed that hackers had stolen the sensitive personal information of 145 million Americans.

This time Equifax discovered a issue with a third party vendor it uses to collect website performance data.

"During this suspension, the IRS will continue its review of Equifax systems and security", the statement reads.

"From its initial announcement, the timing and nature of this IRS-Equifax contract raised some serious red flags. we are pleased to see the IRS suspend its contract with Equifax", Republican Representatives Greg Walden and Robert Latta said in a joint statement on Friday.

The IRS had contracted with Equifax to validate the identity of taxpayers communicating with the agency on the telephone or through its website. However, Equifax was the incumbent contractor for those services, and it filed a procurement protest that wouldn't be resolved until after the current contract expired. People who have already set up Secure Access accounts will not be affected, but now others can only order tax court transcripts through the mail.

In 2016, government services made up 5 percent of Equifax's overall $3.1 billion in revenue, accounting for 10 percent of its workforce solutions revenues, 3 percent of its US information solutions revenues, and 7 percent of its global revenues, according to a regulatory financial filing.

"So when we came down to September 29 when the Equifax contract expired, we had to either stop the service, which means millions of taxpayers would not be able to get their transcripts, including those that are in need of it, like in the hurricane disaster areas they use those tools to get their transcripts, or do a bridge contract with Equifax until GAO decides on the protest and we move forward", he said. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, GoodCall News, Foreign Policy Journal, Washington Technology, Elevation DC, Connection Newspapers and The Maryland Gazette.

Late on October 12, the IRS said that it was temporarily suspending the contract, a move applauded by lawmakers.

Koskinen then pushed back, telling senators that doing so would prevent thousands of hurricane victims from accessing tax information.

We have reached out to Equifax for comment and will update this story if and when they respond.

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