Taxes-Security-Together Checklist – Step 2: Written Data Security Plan

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Security, Security Summit

'Taxes-Security-Together' Checklist - Step 2: Tax Professionals Reminded

Taxes-Security-Together Checklist – Step 2: Written Data Security Plan The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry today reminded all “professional tax preparers” that federal law requires them to create a written information security plan to protect their clients’ data. The reminder came as the IRS and its Security Summit partners urged tax professionals to take time this summer to review their data security protections. To help them in this complex area, the Summit created a special “Taxes-Security-Together” Checklist as a starting point. “Protecting taxpayer data is not only a good business practice, it’s the law for professional tax preparers,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Creating and putting into action a written data security plan is critical to protecting your clients and protecting your business.” Creating a data security plan is the second item on the “Taxes-Security-Together” Checklist. The first step for tax professionals involved deploying the “Security Six” basic steps to protect computers and email. Although the Security Summit — a partnership between the IRS, states and the private-sector tax community — is making major progress against tax-related identity theft, cybercriminals continue to evolve, and data thefts at tax professionals’ offices remain a major threat. Thieves use … Read More

Taxes-Security-Together Checklist – Step 1 of Tax Security 2.0

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Security

Tax Security 2.0 - A 'Taxes-Security-Together Checklist - Step 1

TAX SECURITY 2.0 – A ‘TAXES-SECURITY-TOGETHER’ CHECKLIST – STEP 1: IRS, states and industry outline ‘Security Six’ protections to help tax professionals and taxpayers be safer online Using a new “Taxes-Security-Together” Checklist, the Internal Revenue Service and the Security Summit partners urged tax professionals to review critical security steps to ensure they are fully protecting their computers and email as well as safeguarding sensitive taxpayer data. In the first of a five-part weekly series, the initial step on the checklist involves the “Security Six” protections. These steps fall into several major security categories. “These six steps are simple actions that anyone can take,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “The important thing to remember is that every tax professional, whether a sole practitioner or a partner in a large firm, is a potential target for cybercriminals. No tax business should assume they are too small or too smart to avoid identity thieves.” Although the Security Summit – a partnership between the IRS, states and the private-sector tax community – is making major progress against tax-related identity theft, cybercriminals continue to evolve, and data thefts at tax professionals’ offices continue. Thieves use stolen data from tax practitioners to create fraudulent returns that … Read More

Tax Scams Continue Year-Round

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Online Scams

Tax Scams Continue Year-round

Tax Scams Continue Year-Round Although the April filing deadline has passed, scam artists remain hard at work, and the IRS is urging taxpayers to be on the lookout for a spring surge of evolving phishing emails and telephone scams. The IRS is seeing signs of two new variations of tax-related scams. One involves Social Security numbers related to tax issues and another threatens people with a tax bill from a fictional government agency. Here are some details: The SSN hustle. The latest twist includes scammers claiming to be able to suspend or cancel the victim’s Social Security number. In this variation, the Social Security cancellation threat scam is similar to and often associated with the IRS impersonation scam. It is yet another attempt by con artists to frighten people into returning ‘robocall’ voicemails. Scammers may mention overdue taxes in addition to threatening to cancel the person’s SSN. Fake tax agency. This scheme involves the mailing of a letter threatening an IRS lien or levy. The lien or levy is based on bogus delinquent taxes owed to a non-existent agency, “Bureau of Tax Enforcement.” There is no such agency. The lien notification scam also likely references the IRS to confuse potential … Read More

TIGTA Releases Spring Semiannual Report

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)

TIGTA Releases Spring Semiannual Report

TIGTA releases spring semiannual report “January 2019 marked the 20th anniversary of TIGTA’s establishment as an independent organization. In July of 1998, Congress approved and the President signed into law the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. In January 1999, TIGTA became operational as a newly formed Office of Inspector General, and for 20 years now it has faithfully served the American people by providing fair, effective, and efficient oversight of the IRS and the Nation’s tax administration system. I am confident that TIGTA will continue to successfully carry out its mission in 2019 and beyond.” J. Russell George, Inspector General On June 3, 2019, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released its spring semiannual report to Congress. The report, covering the period of October 2018, through March 2019, has identified challenges faced by the IRS between October and March and focused their audits in those areas. These management and performance challenges fell into these categories: Security over taxpayer data and protection of IRS resources; Implementing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other tax law changes; Identity theft and impersonation fraud; Improving tax reporting and payment compliance; And achieving program efficiencies and cost savings. TIGTA's Spring … Read More

GAO Releases Report on IRS Cybersecurity Oversight

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Security

GAO Releases Report on IRS Cybersecurity Oversight

GAO Releases Report on IRS Cybersecurity Oversight The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, produced for the IRS, regarding safety concerns over third-party tools used to file taxes, as well as a series of recommendations. It is estimated that 90% of people use commercial software, like TurboTax, free file options like CreditKarma, or paid preparers to file their taxes. In the event of a cybersecurity event involving any of these platforms (or tax and accounting professionals) an individual's personal information could be accessed and stolen. In the report highlights, the GAO summarizes the concern: "IRS seeks to help safeguard electronic tax return filing for various types of third-party providers through requirements under its Authorized e-file Provider program. However, IRS's efforts do not provide assurance that taxpayers' information is being adequately protected." Federal law requires that the IRS protect the integrity and confidentiality of a taxpayer's information within its databases. However, the IRS does not currently have a consistent set of security requirements for software, preparer, or online, return preparation, that requires the same protections. GAO's report, Taxpayer Information: IRS Needs to Improve Oversight of Third-Party Cybersecurity Practices addresses the issue in greater depth and proposes steps that the IRS … Read More

IRS Seeks Applications for ETAAC (Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee)

NSTPInternal Revenue Service (IRS), Security

IRS Seeks Applications for the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee

Are you interested in getting more involved with the internal processes of the IRS? The Internal Revenue Service is seeking qualified applicants for nomination to the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC). Applications will be accepted through May 29, 2019. The ETAAC provides an organized public forum for discussion of issues in electronic tax administration, such as prevention of identity theft and refund fraud. ETAAC supports the overriding goal that paperless filing is the preferred and most convenient method of filing tax and information returns. ETAAC members work closely with the Security Summit, a joint effort of the IRS, state tax administrators and the tax industry to fight electronic fraud. The IRS is looking for up to 10 qualified individuals who will serve three-year terms beginning in September 2019. Applicants should have experience in such areas as state tax administration, cybersecurity and information security, tax software development, tax preparation, payroll and tax financial product processing, systems management and improvement and implementation of customer service initiatives. The IRS also encourages representatives from consumer groups with an interest in tax issues to apply. Nominations of qualified individuals may be made by letter and received from organizations or the individuals themselves. Applicants should … Read More