July 18, 2018
The IRS has kicked off a 10 week awareness campaign for tax professionals. This new effort by the IRS, State tax agencies and the private sector tax industry is aimed at making tax preparers aware of the continued threat to tax and financial data that is held by them.
This new campaign called “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself: Security 101” is intended to provide tax professionals with the basic information that they need to better protect taxpayer data and to help prevent the filing of fraudulent tax returns that is based on stolen taxpayer data taken from the preparer’s computer system. It will run for ten weeks and will focus each week on topics such as security, passwords, recognizing spear phishing, monitoring and protecting your EFIN, signs of data theft and a tax preparer’s legal obligation to protect taxpayer data.
It is important to understand that this time of year is when the cybercriminals ramp up their efforts in targeting tax preparers in an effort to obtain their clients tax return information. So it is important for tax preparers to remain vigilant and take the necessary steps to protect their computers and thus protect their customer’s information throughout the year.
For more details on this campaign see IRS News Release Tax Security 101 on the IRS website.
With this in mind here are a few recent IRS videos that can help tax preparers protect themselves against breaches of their computer systems and what to do if they are compromised:
Also, there are publications that tax return preparers will find useful as to what steps they need to take to protect themselves:
And here are some helpful IRS webpages on security for tax return preparers: