IRS Urges Tax Preparers To Protect Clients’ Personal Information From Identity Theft

The IRS has renewed its call on tax professionals to be vigilant for new and ongoing threats targeting the tax system and tax data.

IRS Urges Tax Preparers To Protect Clients’ Personal Information From Identity Theft

The effort to encourage tax professionals to take steps to help prevent data theft kicks off with the Security Summit’s annual summer campaign targeting the tax community.

The IRS worked with representatives from tax preparation, the software industry, state tax administrators, payroll, and financial product processors. Security Summit partners include the IRS, state tax authorities and the US tax community. These organizations are working together to raise awareness of the growing threats through the ‘Protect You Clients: Protect Yourself’ campaign.

Tax professionals are prime targets for scammers

During the pandemic, when telecommuting increased across the country, identity hackers were especially active. Tax professionals are prime targets for scammers, who work their way into systems and steal customer data. Hackers use data to file fraudulent tax returns that are difficult for the IRS and states to detect.

With tax-related identity theft on the rise, it is vital that tax professionals be aware of scams aimed at stealing personal and professional data and take the necessary steps and precautions to protect tax systems and customer data.

IRS National Tax Forum

The five-part press release series begins July 19 and runs every Tuesday through August 16. This coincides with the dates when the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum is held. The forum consists of 32 webinars aimed at educating tax professionals on security-related issues.

For individuals and businesses working in the tax industry, attending the IRS’s Security Summit’s campaign and Tax Forum can be an invaluable investment of time.

Chuck Rettig, IRS Commissioner, spoke about the importance of the upcoming events in helping tax professionals increase security against identity theft.

“The IRS and Security Summit partners continue their concerted efforts to protect the federal and state tax systems from identity thieves.

“As we strengthen our defenses, cyber thieves are increasingly turning to tax professionals, especially smaller operations, to seek out security vulnerabilities. This is a crucial link in protecting sensitive taxpayer information. By taking some basic security measures, tax professionals will help protect themselves from the relentless efforts of identity thieves,” Rettig added.

Fighting Identity Theft

The Security Summit was launched in 2015 as a means of combating identity theft. The Summit plays a vital role in this battle and significantly reduces the number of confirmed identity thefts.

Over the next five weeks, Summit partners will present a series of simple steps tax professionals can take to better protect their customers and themselves from sensitive data theft.

The IRS Nationwide Tax Forums will be held virtually from July 19. The forums include three webinars on information and cybersecurity.

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