Tax practitioners are warned to safeguard client data

Tax practitioners are warned to safeguard client data

The IRS began a new campaign to warn tax practitioners to beware of new threats from cybercriminals that target client data, allowing the criminals to prepare fraudulent tax returns that are difficult to detect. As part of that campaign, the IRS has introduced a new publication, Publication 5293, Data Security Resource Guide for Tax Professionals.

The IRS warns that data theft from tax practitioners continues to be a growing problem, with technically sophisticated cybercriminals employing evolving tactics to steal data.

The campaign is a joint effort by the IRS and its Security Summit partners, which include state tax agencies and the private-sector tax preparation industry.

The IRS announced that, as part of its efforts, it has also updated Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, to better reflect current threats tax professionals face.

The IRS announcement also reiterated the steps it has urged tax practitioners to take to ensure client information is not breached:

The IRS further emphasized the dangers posed by cybercriminals who have often outwitted efforts to stop them. The IRS noted that in many cases, tax practitioners were not aware that their client’s data had been stolen.

Sally P. Schreiber (Sally.Schreiber@aicpa-cima.com) is a JofA senior editor.   

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