We need your help.
Working as the Security Summit partnership, the IRS, the states and the tax industry are protecting your federal and state tax accounts and making progress against identity theft. Many of Security Summit initiatives are invisible to you but will help us identity and stop fraudulent tax returns filed by impersonators.
The Summit partners' priorities for 2018 remain focused on enhanced authentication procedures, improved information sharing, heightened cybersecurity and greater education and outreach to the public. (See Security Summit for details on our efforts.)
We are asking you - taxpayers, tax professionals and businesses - to join with us to create an even stronger partnership. Our "Taxes. Security. Together" awareness campaign is an effort to better inform you about the actions you can take to protect your sensitive data.
Events and Campaigns
- National Tax Security Awareness Week, November 27 to December 1, 2017
- National Tax Security Awareness Week, December 5 to December. 8, 2016.
How Taxpayers Can Help
We’ve listed a few common-sense suggestions that can make a big difference. Also see Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers.
A few highlights:
- Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure the security software is always turned on and can automatically update. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records you store on your computer. Use strong, unique passwords for each account.
- Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card company and even the IRS. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
- Protect your personal data. Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card, and make sure your tax records are secure. Shop at reputable online retailers. Treat your personal information like you do your cash; don’t leave it lying around.
How Tax Professionals Can Help
Tax preparers are critical and valued partners in the tax administration process, and they have an important role to play in helping prevent identity theft.
Tax practitioners should review their own security features. More and more, tax professionals are the targets of identity thieves. See Identity Theft Information for Tax Professionals for basic steps to protecting client data and what to do if targeted by cybercriminals.
Tax preparers can share Publication 4524 with clients to help raise awareness about important security steps.
Practitioners also should complete the “know your customer” information fields that may be on the electronic Forms 1040 and Forms 1120 series.
See our Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself page for information about this campaign and additional security information.
How Businesses Can Help
Business and other organizations, especially trusts, estates and partnerships, should be aware that they too can be victims of identity theft. Criminals may file Forms 1120, 1120S or Schedule K-1 in their names. See Identity Theft Guide for Business, Partnerships and Estate and Trusts for more details.
Businesses and other organizations also can help combat identity theft by helping educate their employees, clients and customers. Businesses can share Publication 4524 or create their own messages urging employees, clients or customers to protect their data and beware of phishing emails, the most common tactic used by criminals to steal data.
Business also should educate their payroll and human resources employees about a dangerous phishing scam. The Form W-2 scam tricks payroll and human resources employees into sharing employee wage and income information by posing as a company executive. See Form W-2/SSN Data Theft: Information for Businesses and Payroll Service Providers.
Businesses that retain sensitive financial data also should review and update their security plan. Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, provides a good place to start and includes helpful recommendations.
We all have a role.