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Identity Theft And Data Security Tips For Tax Professionals

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Identity Theft And Data Security Tips For Tax Professionals

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Identity Theft and Data Security Tips for Tax Professionals

Identity theft and data security are critical concerns for tax professionals. As tax preparers handle sensitive client information, they are responsible for ensuring the highest level of data security. The IRS has set guidelines and requirements for tax professionals to protect client data and prevent identity theft.

Table of Contents

Tips to Protect Against Identity Theft

  • Encourage Clients to Apply for an Identity Protection PIN
  • Avoid Spear Phishing Scams
  • Know the Tell-Tale Signs of Identity Theft
  • Help Clients Protect Themselves Whether Working from Home or Traveling
  • Create a Written Information Security Plan
  • Protecting Client Data

Identity Theft and Tax Preparation

  • Tax Preparation Software
  • Phishing Scams
  • Inflation Reduction Act and Tax Preparation

Data Security in a Virtual Tax Office

  • Cloud-Based Security in Tax Preparation Solutions
  • Virtual Tax Preparation Software

Tips to Protect Against Identity Theft

Tax professionals have a duty to safeguard their clients' information. It is crucial to comply with federal law and adhere to the guidelines and regulations set by the IRS. These regulations include implementing proper security measures, such as encryption and secure data storage, to protect sensitive client data from unauthorized access.

Encourage Clients to Apply for an Identity Protection PIN

An Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) is a six-digit number provided by the IRS to eligible taxpayers. Encourage your clients to apply for an IP PIN to add an extra layer of security to their tax returns. The IP PIN helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns using your client's Social Security number.

Avoid Spear Phishing Scams

Spear phishing scams target specific individuals or organizations with personalized emails or messages. Tax professionals should educate themselves and their clients about spear phishing scams and the tactics used by cybercriminals. By being cautious and verifying the legitimacy of any emails or messages received, tax professionals can avoid falling victim to these scams.

Know the Tell-Tale Signs of Identity Theft

It is essential for tax professionals to be aware of the signs of identity theft. This includes unexpected tax returns being rejected due to duplicate filing, unexplained account activity, and notifications from the IRS about unfamiliar tax filings. By promptly recognizing these signs, tax professionals can take appropriate action to mitigate the impact of identity theft.

Help Clients Protect Themselves Whether Working from Home or Traveling

Tax professionals should advise their clients on the necessary precautions to protect their information when working from home or traveling. This includes using secure internet connections, avoiding public Wi-Fi networks, and regularly updating their software and devices with the latest security patches.

Create a Written Information Security Plan

One of the first steps tax professionals should take to enhance data security is to create a written information security plan. This plan outlines the strategies and procedures that will be implemented to protect client data. It should include measures to prevent unauthorized access, detect any security breaches, and respond promptly in case of data breaches.

Protecting Client Data

To protect client data, tax professionals need to implement various security measures. This includes using firewalls and encryption to secure electronic files, implementing multi-factor authentication, and regularly updating computer systems and software to protect against cyber threats. Additionally, tax professionals should train their staff on data privacy and security protocols to ensure everyone is aware of the best practices for protecting client information.

Identity Theft and Tax Preparation

Tax Preparation Software

Tax preparation software plays a crucial role in improving data security for tax professionals. Reputable tax preparation software offers built-in security features such as secure data transmission and encryption. It also provides automatic updates to address emerging security threats and vulnerabilities.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are a significant threat to data security for tax preparers. Cybercriminals use emails and fake websites to trick tax professionals into revealing sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and social security numbers. Tax professionals must remain vigilant and educate themselves and their staff about the tell-tale signs of phishing scams.

Inflation Reduction Act and Tax Preparation

The Inflation Reduction Act has introduced additional security requirements for tax preparers. Tax professionals are now required to verify their identity with the IRS before submitting tax returns electronically. This helps prevent identity theft and ensures the accuracy of tax filings.

How can Taxfyle Help? 

There are always moments when having access to more clients can help. Whether there’s a lull during the busy season or you want to leverage portions of your spare time, having access to other income streams can provide a jolt. If you want to find out how you can increase your potential earnings, Taxfyle can help. 

We connect tax practitioners like you to customers and firms looking for help preparing, reviewing, and filing taxes. There’s no micromanagement, no need to collect payments, and you don’t need to spend advertising money. Plus, you can do it on your desired schedule in a more secure platform.

Legal Disclaimer

Tickmark, Inc. and its affiliates do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, tax or accounting advice or recommendations. All information prepared on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied on for legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your own legal, tax or accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The content on this website is provided “as is;” no representations are made that the content is error-free.

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published

April 20, 2022

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Luis Rivero, CPA

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