ND Office of State Tax Commissioner Information & Training Opportunities
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IRS Information & Training Opportunities
Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself from Data Theft
Due to the sensitive client data held by tax professionals, cybercriminals increasingly target the tax preparation community. Thieves use a variety of tactics, from remote computer takeovers to phishing scams.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the private-sector tax industry ask for your help to combat identity theft and fraudulent returns. Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference. That’s why we launched a public awareness campaign that we call, “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself.”
Identity thieves are a formidable enemy. Data breaches are increasing in number and scope. Thieves often use the stolen identity information to file tax returns. As a tax preparer, you play a critical role in protecting taxpayer data.
Most tax professional’s software includes security protections. You should take other defensive moves as well.
Here are a few critical steps:
- Secure Data. Make sure that taxpayer data, including data left on hardware and media, is never left unsecured; use security software on all digital devices.
- Shred Documents and Destroy Media. Securely dispose of taxpayer information.
- Use Strong Passwords. Require strong passwords (numbers, symbols, upper and lowercase) on all computers, tax software programs and Wi-Fi.
- Change Passwords. Require periodic password changes every 60 – 90 days.
- Safely Store Data. Store taxpayer data in secure systems and encrypt information when transmitting across networks.
- Encrypt Email. Encrypt e-mail that contains taxpayer data.
The IRS has many tools to keep you up to date. Check out their IRS Tax Professionals page, their Basic Tools for Tax Professionals page, and their Tax Professional Training Opportunities page. Keep in touch on social media: IRSTaxPros Twitter and IRS Return Preparer Office Facebook.