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 can take to mitigate public risk for hacking, identity theft, and other cybercrimes related to electronic information exchange.
Readers may download the Taxpayer Information: IRS Needs to Improve Oversight of Third-Party Cybersecurity Practices here .