HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The IRS says tax they have flagged 100,000 accounts because of a hack into the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA system.
The breach has to do with the IRS Data Retrieval tool, which was a quick shortcut that uses your tax information from the IRS and automatically fills out that part of your FAFSA form for income-driven-repayment plan borrowers.
The IRS says hackers were filling out FAFSA forms as any person would do. Then, once they accessed the system, they were hacking into other applicant's tax information through the website. Once they had that information, the IRS says they were filing false tax returns hoping to steal applicants' refunds.
Lawmakers on Wednesday grilled department heads of the IRS and Department of Education, according to Courthouse News. The IRS said they notified the Department of Education in November of 2016 of their security concerns, but it wasn't until March 2017 that the IRS shut down the Data Retrieval System.
The report says Congress blasted the IRS and Department of Education for not telling them about the breach within the one week window called for by federal law.
If your account was flagged, you should have received a letter from the IRS explaining what happened. The IRS says that part of the FAFSA application process will be shut down until October 2017 so they can fix security issues.
If you haven't filled out your FAFSA yet for the 2016-17 school year, you can still do that can still file without worry, you'll just have to enter your tax information manually on the application.
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