September 8, 2016
As part of the ongoing Security Summit efforts, the IRS has released a new YouTube video urging tax professionals to take the necessary steps toward guarding their data and protecting clients from identity theft.
The video featuring IRS Commissioner John Koskinen warns tax professionals that cybercriminals increasingly are targeting their offices and their data. The video spotlights the "Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself" campaign recently launched by the Security Summit. The campaign seeks to raise awareness about cybercriminal activity and provide tax professionals the information needed to improve safeguards. A series of fact sheets and tips on security, scams and identity theft prevention measures for the tax professional community will be released throughout this summer and fall.
"The tax community handles large volumes of sensitive personal and financial information," Koskinen said. "Many tax professionals are doing their part with strong security practices. But as these threats rapidly evolve, we need every tax professional to stay on top of their security to protect taxpayers as well as their businesses.”
This new effort is an expansion of the Security Summit’s 2015 Taxes. Security. Together. campaign aimed at increasing public awareness for using security software, creating stronger passwords and avoiding phishing emails. The Summit is a joint effort between the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax preparation community to combat refund fraud and identity theft.
Fact Sheet 2016-23, “Tax Professionals: Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself from Identity Theft,” urges preparers to follow the security recommendations found in Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data. The fact sheet outlines the critical steps necessary to protect taxpayer information and to build customer confidence and trust.
Security Awareness Tax Tips focusing on tax professionals also are available. The first one issued in August encouraged tax professionals to monitor their PTINs for suspicious activity.
Preparers should also sign up for e-News for Tax Professionals, the IRS Tax Pro Twitter account and the Return Preparer Office’s Facebook page to stay informed about this campaign and about scams and schemes in general. The IRS also created a “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself” page at http://www.irs.gov/protectyourclients.