Tips to keep your and your clients’ data secure May 2020 Tax News
As you change business practices in response to COVID-19, it is critical that you take the time to review your data security practices. Whether you are working from home or in the office, ensure that your clients’ data is secure.
Keep your business safe by doing these things regularly:
- Track your daily e-file acknowledgements. If there are more acknowledgements than returns you know you filed, dig deeper.
- Track your weekly Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) usage. The IRS posts the number of returns filed with your EFIN weekly.
- Access your IRS e-Services account and your EFIN application.
- Select “EFIN Status” from the application.
- Contact the IRS e-help Desk if your return totals exceed your number of returns filed.
- Update your EFIN application with all phone, address, or personnel changes.
- Track your weekly Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) usage. If you are an attorney, CPA, enrolled agent, or Annual Filing Season Program participant and file 50 or more returns, you can check your PTIN account for a weekly report.
- Access your online PTIN account.
- Select “View Returns Filed Per PTIN.”
- Complete federal form 14157 to report excessive use or misuse of your PTIN.
- If you have a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) Number, keep your authorizations up to date. Remove authorizations for taxpayers who are no longer your clients. For more information, see IRS Publication 947.
- Create your online accounts using Secure Access to help prevent account takeovers. Learn how to register for Secure Access.
If you believe your data has been compromised, take the following steps:
- Report it to your local stakeholder liaison
Liaisons will notify IRS Criminal Investigation and others within the agency on your behalf. Speed is critical. If reported quickly, the IRS can take steps to block fraudulent returns in your clients’ names and will assist you through the process.
- Email the Federation of Tax Administrators at StateAlert@taxadmin.org
Get information on how to report victim information to the states. Most states require that the state attorney general be notified of data breaches. This notification process may involve multiple offices.
- Email Franchise Tax Board at firstname.lastname@example.org