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2021 IRS Tax Identity Theft Campaign and Tax Preparers

Identity Protection

IRS Tax Industry Security Summit

Continuing what the IRS, tax industry, and State tax agencies started back in 2015, the Security Summit partners have created a 2021 campaign to urge tax preparers to take basic actions to help stop theft of their own personal data and their clients’ tax data from their offices.

Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft Campaign

The “Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft” comes as the number of data thefts reported by tax preparers to the IRS continues to climb. Through the end of June 2021, there have been 222 data theft reports to the IRS from tax preparers. This is in comparison to 211 in 2020 and 124 in 2019.

What is the purpose of the “Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft” campaign?

This campaign offers information to tax preparers to help them protect themselves. It covers the following:

  • Use of multi-factor authentication
  • Signing up tax preparer clients for an Identity Protection PIN
  • How to avoid new spear phishing scams
  • Recognizing the signs of identity theft
  • Helping tax preparer clients fight unemployment compensation fraud

Who is a target of Tax Identity Theft?

Tax preparers are key targets of criminal syndicates that are tech-savvy, tax-savvy, and well-funded. These scammers either trick or hack their way into tax preparers’ computer systems to access client data. They use stolen data to file fraudulent tax returns that make it more difficult for the IRS and the states to detect because the fraudulent returns use real financial information.

How can tax preparers protect themselves from tax identity theft?

It is important that tax preparers take steps to protect their computer systems from identity thieves. The 2021 IRS “Boost Security Immunity: Fight Against Identity Theft” and visiting other IRS pages on the IRS website related to security and identity theft will help tax preparers protect themselves and their clients’ information from identity thieves.

Tax Identity Theft Resources

For more information, see the following articles on the IRS website:

Mark Castro, CPA

Mark Castro, CPA

Mark has been with CrossLink Professional Tax Solutions (CPTS) since 2008, but has been in the tax industry since 1990. As the government/tax industry liaison for CPTS, Mark has been very active in working with the IRS, States, and other tax industry members to help improve communications, promote standardization, and simplification of eFile systems. Mark has also been active with industry associations as a board member of the National Association of Computerized Processors (NACTP) and the Council of Electronic Revenue Communication Advancement (CERCA) for many years. These two associations work with the IRS and States to help solve key eFile and electronic tax system issues and work to improve the operations of the State and IRS eFile systems.
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