IRS Tax Tip 2019-124, September 10, 2019
Tax professionals should learn the tell-tale signs that their office may have experienced a data theft. Such thefts could have resulted in fraudulent tax returns filed in their clients' names.
Here is a list of warning signs that a tax professional or their office may have experienced a data theft:
- Their clients' e-filed returns are rejected by the IRS or state tax agencies. This happens because someone else already filed a tax return with their client's Social Security number.
- Clients who haven't filed tax returns begin to receive taxpayer authentication letters from the IRS. The IRS sends letters such as the 5071C, 4883C and 5747C to confirm a taxpayer's identity for a submitted tax return.
- Clients who haven't filed tax returns receive refunds.
- Clients receive tax transcripts that they didn't request.
- Clients who created an IRS Online Services account receive an IRS notice that their account was accessed.
- Clients who have an account get an IRS emails saying their account is disabled.
- Clients unexpectedly receive an IRS notice that an IRS online account was created in their names.
- The number of returns filed with the tax professional's Electronic Filing Identification Number is higher than the number of clients they have.
- Tax professionals or clients responding to emails that the firm did not send.
- Network computers running slower than normal.
- Computer cursors moving or changing numbers when the user is not even touching the keyboard.
- Network computers locking out employees.
- Federal Trade Commission Safeguards Rule
- Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data (PDF)
- Small Business Information Security: The Fundamentals (PDF) by the National Institute of Standards and Technology
- Publication 5293, Data Security Resource Guide for Tax Professionals (PDF)
- e-News for Tax Professionals