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What Is Your Tax Professional Doing to Protect Against Fraud?

September 5th, 2016 · No Comments · Taxes

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: February 26, 2018)

what is your tax professional doing to protect against fraudWhen hackers get into the computer of a tax professional, they have access to all the information they need to file fraudulent returns. Unfortunately, that possibility has become a reality for as many as two dozen professional tax preparers in recent weeks. Thus, the IRS warning to tax pros – beef up your security.

What Your Tax Professional Should Be Doing to Protect You

The IRS advises professional tax preparers to:

1) Activate the strongest security measures available in their tax software settings, like requiring the entry of a username and password to access files

2) Run a “deep scan” of their computers for viruses and malware

3) Practice other good anti-fraud habits, like never opening links or attachments in emails from people they do not know

4) Check the security of any remote access software used by employees or IT support

5) Compare the number of returns they filed to the number of returns the IRS shows for their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN)

6) Review IRS relevant IRS publications – Safeguarding Taxpayer Data and Data Breach Information for Tax Professionals

Ask your tax preparer what steps they’re taking to guard against fraud. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, like:

  • What they know about this IRS warning
  • What kind of tax software they use
  • What kind of security measures are built into the tax software
  • What remote access software they use (if any)
  • What kind of security measures are built into the remote access software

If you get any resistance to such questions, feel free to look for a different tax pro. Equally important to filing an accurate return is protecting you from fraud. If they take that job seriously, they should have no problem addressing your concerns. And if they do, look for a tax preparer who is happy to answer your questions.

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