Despite major progress against identity and data theft, threats still happen and continue to put tax professionals and their clients at risk. To help combat this, the IRS and its Security Summit partners created a new Taxes-Security-Together Checklist, with steps you can take now to prevent and recognize data theft, as well as guidance on what to do if you experience a data breach.
Following this checklist is a great starting point for tax professionals who want to protect their offices, computers and data, and help clients ensure their information is secure. Here’s a rundown of the Taxes-Security-Together checklist.
Follow these steps, known as the “Security Six” measures:
- Activate anti-virus software
- Use a firewall
- Use two-factor authentication
- Use backup software or services
- Use drive encryption
- Create and secure virtual private networks
Create a data security plan:
- Federal law requires all professional tax preparers to create and maintain an information security plan for client data.
- The security plan requirement is flexible enough to fit any tax firm, regardless of size.
- Tax professionals should focus on risk areas, including employee management and training, information systems, and detection and management of system failures.
Be on the lookout for common email scams:
Recognize the signs of client data theft:
- Clients receive IRS letters about tax returns someone else filed using their name.
- More tax returns are filed with a tax pro’s electronic filing identification number than the preparer actually submitted.
- Clients receive tax transcripts they did not request.
Read more articles on fraud and security on the Intuit® Tax Pro Center.