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Last year's IRS cyber attack may have accessed 700,000 accounts

The 2015 attack could be a lot worse than the IRS initially thought.

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Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Internal Revenue Service already increased the total number of accounts accessed in last year's cyber attack once. Today, it's raising the number gain. The IRS announced that during a 9-month review of the incident, it discovered that an additional 390,000 taxpayer accounts were potentially accessed during the breach. Those accounts are in addition to the confirmed access of and initial 114,000 last May and the subsequent 220,000 that were added in August. For those keeping track at home, today's announcement brings the total to over 700,000 affected tax payers.

The IRS says that aside from today's increase of the total potentially accessed accounts, another 295,000 taxpayer transcripts were targeted, but the attempts to nab that info were unsuccessful. It also reiterated that the Get Transcript tool that was the target of the breach has been offline since last may when the cyber attack was discovered. Notices to those who are included in this new group will go out next week and those affected will receive a year of Equifax identity theft protection free of charge.

"We are moving quickly to help these taxpayers," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Earlier this month, identity thieves nabbed 100,000 e-file PINs. With that information, fake returns can be filed in an attempt to cash in on bogus refunds. With tax season in full swing, the IRS already has a lot on its plate. It looks like keeping this year's taxpayer info locked down just got bumped to tops on the to-do list.

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