US tax data breach linked to Russia: report

Hackers stole information on 100,000 taxpayers from the online computers of the US Internal Revenue Service last month (AFP Photo/Jim Watson)

Washington (AFP) - A data breach affecting some 100,000 US tax filers appears to have originated in Russia, CNN reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.

The Internal Revenue Service disclosed the breach on Tuesday, saying hackers accessed data on a third-party site with tax records, without compromising the tax agency itself.

CNN said the link to Russia came from two unnamed sources with knowledge of the investigation being led by the US Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security.

The latest breach comes after news that hackers, also believed to be from Russia, broke into the computer networks of the White House and State Department.

US Senator Orrin Hatch, who heads the chamber's finance committee, sent a letter to the IRS seeking information about the breach of sensitive tax data.

"It is critical that this committee fully understand what took place, what information was at risk, how this may affect tax administration, and what appropriate legislative responses may be needed to reduce the risk of this occurring again," Hatch said.

Reports said the breached data allowed hackers to file fraudulent tax returns and get refunds from the government.