Remember to Update Computer Firewalls and Virus Protection
With the filing season right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for basic computer safety and maintenance to secure your system and help prevent identity theft. Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your client’s stolen Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. Your computer files and account information may also provide a treasure trove of information for thieves, which is why protecting your own computer and logging on to secure computer systems is so important.
- Be sure to protect electronic taxpayer information systems connected to the Internet with a barrier device (e.g., firewall, router or gateway) to prevent the unauthorized release of taxpayer data.
- Regularly update firewall, intrusion detection, anti-spyware, anti-adware, anti-virus software and security patches.
- Monitor computer systems for unauthorized access by reviewing system logs.
Follow IRS guidelines for protecting taxpayer information. Online providers must report unauthorized disclosures within one business day. Resources for tax preparers
- Publication 5199 Tax Preparer Guide to Identity Theft
- Publication 5027 Identity Theft Information for Taxpayers
- Publication 4535 Identity Theft Protection and Victim Assistance
- Publication 4600 Safeguarding Taxpayer Information
- Publication 4557 Safeguarding Taxpayer Data
- Publication 1345 Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers (Security)
- Don’t Be a Victim of Tax Refund Fraud in ’16 (krebsonsecurity.com)
- Guide to IRS Form 14039: Identity Theft Affidavit (turbotax.intuit.com)
- It’s Tax Time! As W-2s Roll In, Protect Your Personal Information (allstate.com)