Tax Related Identity Theft – Protecting Your Tax Data

The Internal Revenue Service issued a News Release this week reminding tax practitioners the importance of protecting your tax data against tax related identity theft. Because the number of data thefts reported by tax professionals to the IRS continued to climb., the IRS launched it’s sixth summer campaign. “Boost Security Immunity: Fighting Against Identity Theft” urges practitioners to boost security immunity.

Cybercriminals target tax professionals because they are custodians of highly sensitive client data. In addition to trying to steal client data, thieves may try to steal your identity as well, using your PTINs, EFINs and CAF numbers to file fraudulent returns or steal even more information.

WHY WE MUST PROTECT CLIENT DATA

Firstly, Federal law requires tax professionals to create, implement and maintain an information security plan to protect client data, no matter the size of your firm.  In addition, clients have an expectation that their sensitive information will be respected and given adequate and appropriate protection.

A tax professional must take reasonable steps to protect personal information from unauthorized access, modification or disclosure and also against misuse, interference and loss. Also, reasonable steps must be taken to destroy or de-identify personal information when it is no longer needed.

WHERE CAN YOU LEARN MORE

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry partners who make up the Security Summit created a Taxes-Security-Together Checklist. The checklist is a guide to help tax professionals cover the basics of cybersecurity. The Checklist can be found on the IRS website.

Furthermore, every Tuesday, for the next five weeks, the Security Summit partners will highlight a series of simple actions that tax professionals can take to better protect client data from tax related identity theft. In particular, the series will focus on the following topics:

  • Using multi-factor authentication to protect tax preparation software accounts. 
  • Signing up clients for Identity Protection PINs. 
  • Helping clients fight unemployment compensation fraud. 
  • Avoiding spear phishing scams. 
  • Knowing the signs of identity theft. 

Want to Learn More ? Get CE credit and learn more about how you can protect yourself and your clients from Tax Related Identity Theft.

PTIN Courses International is an IRS-approved CE Provider.

We offer a quality continuing education experience for a reasonable price of $10.00 per credit hour!! Please take a look at the courses we currently have to offer by visiting our “All Courses” page. We are so excited to become a part of your professional journey.

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