The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry have warned tax professionals of new and ongoing threats involving their systems and taxpayer data. This effort began with the Security Summit’s annual summer campaign “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself.” The special five-part news release series began July 19 and will run every Tuesday through August 16. This coincides with the dates for the 2022 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum.

The IRS reminds tax professionals to focus on fundamentals and to watch out for emerging vulnerabilities being seen for those practitioners using cloud-based services for their practice. Tax professionals are prime targets of criminal syndicates that are both tech- and tax-savvy and well-funded. Thieves can use stolen data to file fraudulent tax returns that make it more difficult for the IRS and the states to detect because the fraudulent returns use real financial information. Other data thieves sell the basic tax preparer or taxpayer information on the web so that other fraudsters can try filing fraudulent tax returns.

During the five weeks of the annual summer campaign, the Security Summit partners will highlight a series of simple actions that tax professionals can take to better protect their clients and themselves from sensitive data theft. These recommendations will be to:

  • sign up clients for identity protection PINs,
  • avoid spear phishing scams,
  • know the tell-tale signs of identity theft,
  • create a security plan, and
  • help clients protect themselves whether working from home or traveling.

The IRS also reminded tax professionals about the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum’s three webinars focused on cyber- and information security.