IRS Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself Tax Tip Number 6, January 11, 2017
Identity thieves increasingly target tax professionals. A thief who breaches the data of one tax return preparer can gain hundreds or thousands of taxpayers’ data. One way you can monitor for suspicious activity is to check how many federal tax returns have been filed with your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN).
As part of the ongoing concerns about security and identity theft, the IRS recommends that you verify the number of returns submitted under your EFIN. Do this routinely and especially during filing season. Verify your EFIN through IRS e-Services. If you do not have an e-Services account, then your first step would be to go to e-Services and register for an account.
Once you have logged into your e-Services account, follow these steps to verify the number of returns electronically filed with the IRS:
- Select your name,
- In the left banner, select ‘Application’,
- In the left banner, select ‘e-File Application’,
- Select your name again,
- In the listing, select ‘EFIN Status’ and on this screen you can see the number of returns filed based on return type.
Help safeguard your EFIN. During the filing season, check on your EFIN status to ensure that it is not being used by others. Your e-Services account will give you the number of returns the IRS received, which you can match to your records. The statistics are updated weekly. Please contact the IRS e-help Desk at 866-255-0654 if you see a significantly higher volume than you transmitted.
For more information on EFINs, Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation, provides participation requirements and necessary steps to obtain an EFIN. Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns, provides rules and requirements for participation in IRS e-file involving individual income tax returns and related forms and schedules.
This is one in a series of special security awareness tax tips for tax professionals. The “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself” campaign’s goal is to raise awareness among tax professionals. It is an initiative of the Security Summit, a joint project by the IRS, states and the tax community to combat identity theft. Because of the sensitive client data held by tax professionals, cybercriminals increasingly are targeting the tax preparation community.