Tax Security 101: Tax professionals must maintain, protect EFINs; Monitor EFINs, PTINs and CAF numbers

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November 12, 2018

Tax Security 101: Tax professionals must maintain, protect EFINs; Monitor EFINs, PTINs and CAF numbers IR-2018-164, Aug. 14, 2018 IR-2018-164, Aug. 14, 2018 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service and the Security Summit partners warned tax professionals that savvy cyberCRiminals target IRS-issued identification numbers to help impersonate pRActitioners as well as taxpayers. WASHINGTON — The […]

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Tax Security 101: Tax professionals must maintain, prote EFINs; Monitor EFINs, PTINs and CAF numbers

IR-2018-164, Aug. 14, 2018

IR-2018-164, Aug. 14, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue and the Security Summit partners warned tax professionals that savvy cybercriminals target IRS-issued identification numbers to help impersonate praitioners as well as taxpayers.

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue and the Security Summit partners warned tax professionals that savvy cybercriminals target IRS-issued identification numbers to help impersonate praitioners as well as taxpayers.

To help prote against this threat used on the Dark Web, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry reminded praitioners that they must maintain, monitor and prote their Eleronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) as well as keep tabs on their arer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) and Centralized Authorization File (CAF) numbers.

To help prote against this threat used on the Dark Web, the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry reminded praitioners that they must maintain, monitor and prote their Eleronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) as well as keep tabs on their arer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs) and Centralized Authorization File (CAF) numbers.

This is the sixth in a series called “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself: Tax Security 101.” The Security Summit awareness campaign is intended to provide tax professionals with the information they need to better prote taxpayer data and to help prevent the filing of fraudulent tax returns.

This is the sixth in a series called “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself: Tax Security 101.” The Security Summit awareness campaign is intended to provide tax professionals with the information they need to better prote taxpayer data and to help prevent the filing of fraudulent tax returns.

Although the Security Summit — a partnership between the IRS, states and the private-seor tax community — is making progress against tax-related id theft, cybercriminals continue to evolve, and data theft at tax professionals’ offices is on the rise. Thieves use stolen data from tax praitioners to create fraudulent returns that are harder to dete.

Although the Security Summit — a partnership between the IRS, states and the private-seor tax community — is making progress against tax-related id theft, cybercriminals continue to evolve, and data theft at tax professionals’ offices is on the rise. Thieves use stolen data from tax praitioners to create fraudulent returns that are harder to dete.

Cybercriminals sometimes post stolen EFINs, PTINs and CAF numbers on the Dark Web as a crime kit for id thieves who can then file fraudulent tax returns. EFINs are necessary for tax professionals or their firms to file client returns eleronically. PTINs are issued to those who, for a fee, are tax returns or claims for refund. CAF numbers are issued when tax praitioners or their firms file a request for third-party access to client files.

Cybercriminals sometimes post stolen EFINs, PTINs and CAF numbers on the Dark Web as a crime kit for id thieves who can then file fraudulent tax returns. EFINs are necessary for tax professionals or their firms to file client returns eleronically. PTINs are issued to those who, for a fee, are tax returns or claims for refund. CAF numbers are issued when tax praitioners or their firms file a request for third-party access to client files.

These identification numbers may only be obtained direly from the IRS.

These identification numbers may only be obtained direly from the IRS.

Here’s what tax professionals can do to prote these important numbers from id thieves:

Here’s what tax professionals can do to prote these important numbers from id thieves:

Once a tax professional has completed the EFIN application process and received an EFIN, it is important that they keep their account up-to-date at all times. This includes:

Once a tax professional has completed the EFIN application process and received an EFIN, it is important that they keep their account up-to-date at all times. This includes:

Tax professionals can obtain a weekly report of the number of tax returns filed with their EFIN and PTIN. For PTIN holders, only those arers who are attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents or Annual Filing Season Program participants and who file 50 or more returns may obtain PTIN information. Weekly checks will help flag any ab by cybercriminals. Here’s how:

Tax professionals can obtain a weekly report of the number of tax returns filed with their EFIN and PTIN. For PTIN holders, only those arers who are attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents or Annual Filing Season Program participants and who file 50 or more returns may obtain PTIN information. Weekly checks will help flag any ab by cybercriminals. Here’s how:

For those with a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number, make sure to keep authorizations up to date. Tax professionals should make an annual review to identify outstanding third-party authorizations for who are no longer their clients. It is important that tax professionals remove authorizations for taxpayers who are no longer their clients.

For those with a Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number, make sure to keep authorizations up to date. Tax professionals should make an annual review to identify outstanding third-party authorizations for who are no longer their clients. It is important that tax professionals remove authorizations for taxpayers who are no longer their clients.

See “Withdrawal of Representation” in Publication 947, Praice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney. Information also is available in the instruions for Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, for additional information on withdrawing representation.

See “Withdrawal of Representation” in Publication 947, Praice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney. Information also is available in the instruions for Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, or Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization, for additional information on withdrawing representation.

The same good security habits for proteing client data also can prote the EFIN. Those include the use of strong anti-virus software, strong and unique passwords, two-faor authentication where available.

The same good security habits for proteing client data also can prote the EFIN. Those include the use of strong anti-virus software, strong and unique passwords, two-faor authentication where available.

In addition to these steps, the Security Summit reminds all professional tax arers that they must have a written data security plan as required by the Federal Trade Commission and its Safeguards Rule. They can get help with security recommendations by reviewing the recently revised IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, and Small Business Information Security: the Fundamentals by the National Institute of Standards and .

In addition to these steps, the Security Summit reminds all professional tax arers that they must have a written data security plan as required by the Federal Trade Commission and its Safeguards Rule. They can get help with security recommendations by reviewing the recently revised IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, and Small Business Information Security: the Fundamentals by the National Institute of Standards and .

Publication 5293, Data Security Resource Guide for Tax Professionals, provides a compilation of data theft information available on IRS.gov. Also, tax professionals should stay conneed to the IRS through subscriptions to e-News for Tax Professionals, QuickAlerts and Social Media.

Publication 5293, Data Security Resource Guide for Tax Professionals, provides a compilation of data theft information available on IRS.gov. Also, tax professionals should stay conneed to the IRS through subscriptions to e-News for Tax Professionals, QuickAlerts and Social Media.


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