Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself

Every tax professional in the United States — whether a member of a major accounting firm or an owner of a one-person storefront — is a potential target for highly sophisticated, well-funded and technologically adept cybercriminals around the world.

Their objective: to steal your clients’ data so they can file fraudulent tax returns that better impersonate their victims and are harder to detect. Their tactics: using email, the phone or other means to trick you into giving up computer passwords, e-Services passwords, to steal your EFINs or CAF numbers or even to take remote control of your entire computer system.

Protecting client data also is the law. Federal Trade Commission regulations require professional tax preparers to create and enact security plans to protect client data. Review IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data PDF, for details and security recommendations. Also, see IRS Publication 5293, Data Theft Resource Guide for Tax Professionals PDF, for a roundup of information.

No one can fight this crime alone. It takes all of us, working together. That is why the Security Summit — the unprecedented partnership between the IRS, state tax agencies, and the private-sector tax industry — came together to form a united and coordinated front against this common enemy. And, that’s why the Summit partners — through the “Protect Your Clients, Protect Yourself” awareness campaign — are asking tax professionals nationwide to join this effort.

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