ASK THE CALIFORNIA EMPLOYMENT TAX AND PAYROLL TAX ATTORNEY – 2022 IRS SECURITY SUMMIT ISSUES WARNINGS TO TAX PROFESSIONALS TO GUARD AGAINST NEW IDENTITY THEFTS
By Robert S. Schriebman
Every year this time the IRS meets with its Security Summit Partners to focus on protecting tax professionals and the public from identity thefts that could result in stolen personal data and the filing of bogus state and federal tax refund claims. For the next several weeks, the IRS will be issuing bulletins informing tax professionals of new schemes and attempts at data invasion. IRS Commissioner Rettig is a big supporter of the Summit and he stresses that by taking some basic security steps accountants and tax return preparers can help protect against the relentless efforts of very smart and industrious scammers.
At this initial Summit meeting the IRS issued four specific recommendations that I will discuss in this article.
IRS Initial Security Recommendations
The Security Summit’s initial meeting for 2022 made the following basic recommendations:
- Sign up clients for Identity Protection PINs
- Avoid Spear Phishing Scams
- Know the Tell-Tale Signs of Identity Theft
- Create a Security Plan
Sign up clients for Identity Protection PINs
The IRS now offers IP PINS for all taxpayers who can verify their identities either online, over the phone, or through a personal visit to the IRS. IRS Form 15227 must be completed as part of this process. The IP PIN is a 6-hphen digit number known only to the taxpayer and the IRS. This will help prevent a scammer from filing a fraudulent return most likely seeking a refund. The IP PIN application process can be found at IRS.gov.
Avoid Spear Phishing Scams
Spear phishing is a clever plot to fool tax professionals into revealing confidential client information. Very clever thieves craft personalized emails to entice tax professionals to open a link or an attachment. Tax professionals have become especially vulnerable to thieves posing as potential clients. Thieves might carry on an email conversation with their target for several days before sending the email containing the dangerous link or attachment. Once clicked the scammers secretly download software onto the tax professional’s computer that will give thieves remote access to systems and files.
Know the Tell-Tale Signs of Identity Theft
These signs include multiple clients suddenly receiving IRS letters requesting confirmation that they filed a tax return deemed suspicious. Tax professionals may see E-file acknowledgments for more tax returns than they filed. Computer cursers may move on their own.
Create a Security Plan
The Federal Trade Commission requires paid tax return preparers to create and implement a data security plan. There are resources available such as IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data.
Over the next few weeks, the IRS Security Summit for 2022 will be issuing bulletins setting forth the latest tax schemes and what tax professionals and the public can do for protection. These will be passed onto you.
Robert Schriebman has a successful practice in the Rolling Hills Estates area of Los Angeles County serving clients throughout California and the United States. He has successfully dedicated more than 50 years to helping individual taxpayers, business owners, CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and tax attorneys navigate the complicated tax systems of the federal and state governments. Mr. Schriebman is in private practice. He is not affiliated in any way with the EDD, and he is not employed by the EDD or any other agency of the State of California.
Robert Schriebman has written the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See “California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures” and “California Taxation Practice and Procedure,” both published by Commerce Clearing House.
Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, “IRS Tax Collection Procedures – A Manual for Practitioners” published by Commerce Clearing House.
Robert Schriebman has written over 20 books including the major manual used nationally by practitioners and the IRS, “IRS Tax Collection Procedures – A Manual for Practitioners” published by Commerce Clearing House in addition to the only 2 books ever published dealing with how California Employment Development Department (EDD) operates. See “California Tax Collection Practice and Procedures” and “California Taxation Practice and Procedure,” both published by Commerce Clearing House.
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