As a tax practitioner, we often get busy with lots of tax related works piled on us due to upcoming tax deadline. To stay enough competitive, we must have to submit our client’s returns on time. There are many innovative tax software, help us to do our jobs more efficiently than ever. With these comprehensive programs, we are able to serve more clients on a short span of time. The accuracy of our returns has significantly improved, thanks only to these extraordinary tax programs. Furthermore, tax software hosting over cloud has added additional wings to the tax software by providing many features like: anywhere access, multi-user capabilities, round the clock availability, and many more. While riding on the success of path as a tax practitioner, have we ever thought if we comply with IRS’s security safeguards that were especially designed to secure the client’s information? If not, it’s time to look into various security recommendation passed by IRS for our safety.
The majority of IRS security suggestions evolve around NIST (National Institute for Standard and Technology) standards for data safety and security. However, IRS emphasizes on a few points:
1- New Password Mechanism: Strong password provides first line of defence to our resources. Hence, to ensure the new password security measure, user must change the password with below combinations:
- At least 8 characters
- One alphanumeric
- One special character
The other significant step has been taken with the account lockout policy after invalid login attempts. The number of invalid attempts and login time have been drastically reduced. The new rule will also include email verification with pin code send to the client’s email. These steps are expected to be a game changer in tax security practices, and all tax software vendor will have to adhere with these new guidelines.
2- Set of IP Pins: 6 digit IP pins are assigned to each eligible taxpayers, and are used while tax returns submission process. It prevents taxpayers from misuse of their SSNs. IRS sends the IP pin by post of the individuals and they can use it while submitting their all kinds of returns all over the calendar year.
3- Information Sharing: The channel of IRS, state tax and tax industry has been developed under a common standard for securities. Hence, any data shared to the IRS or state tax agency will always remain protected with high security standards.
What if we fall a victim to a cyber crime?
Nothing in Information Technology is 100% guaranteed. Problems may arise at any point of time, even after having best practices together. Therefore, we must be aware of the next steps once we encounter any mis-happening with us. There are a few signs that indicates of fraud with us:
- Duplicate returns using our SSN
- IRS records show you got wages from unknown firm
Once we report such circumstances, we should immediately validate our identity with IDVerify.irs.gov, followed by instructions to rectify it.