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Post Date:  7/25/2016
Last Updated:  7/25/2016

Summary
Cross References
- FS-2016-23, July 2016

The Security Summit, the partnership between the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax community, formed to combat identity theft, recently announced it expanded its public awareness campaign on data security to include tax professionals.

The "Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself" campaign is intended to raise awareness among tax professionals on their responsibilities and the common sense steps they can take to protect their clients from identity theft and to protect their businesses.

Because of the sensitive client data held by tax professionals, cybercriminals increasingly are targeting the tax preparation community, using a variety of tactics from remote computer takeovers to phishing scams.

How are tax preparers impacted? Identity thieves are a formidable enemy. Data breaches are increasing in number and scope, increasing the potential for stolen identity information to be used to file tax returns. Tax preparers play a critical role in protecting taxpayer data.

What is the role of a preparer? It is a legal responsibility of businesses and individuals that maintain, share, transmit, or store taxpayer data to have safeguards in place to pro- tect client information. Taxpayer data is defined as any information obtained or used in the preparation of a tax return.

What can tax preparers do? Data security includes all aspects of a tax preparer's business. A tax preparer should review his or her administrative practices, facility protection, computer security, personnel and information systems.

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