Information Security Plan
Federal law requires all tax preparers to create and implement a written data security plan. This requirement was included in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), which states that financial institutions must keep customer data safe. Under GLBA, tax and accounting professionals are considered financial institutions, regardless of size.
What is an Information Security Plan?
As part of implementing the GLBA, the Federal Trade Commission issued the Safeguards Rule which includes a requirement for financial institutions to implement a written information security plan (WISP). A WISP is a written document that details policies and procedures implemented to protect a taxpayer and tax preparer’s confidential data.
How to Create a Written Information Security Plan
The Security Summit partners (a private public partnership between IRS, States, the tax industry, and tax professionals) has noticed that many tax preparers are struggling to develop a written security plan. Therefore, they have created a sample security plan that is designed to help tax professionals, especially those with smaller practices, to design and develop a written security plan.
Information Security Plan Example
This sample security plan is outlined in IRS Publication 5708 (Creating a Written Information Security Plan for Your Tax & Accounting Practice). It is a 29-page document that is designed to help tax preparers of all sizes create a written security plan that meets the FTC Safeguards rule.
See the following on the IRS website for more information on the sample security plan and more steps that tax preparers can take to secure their computer systems in their office:
- IRS News Release I.R. 2022-147 (Security Summit releases new data security plan to help tax professionals)
- IRS Publication 4557 (Safeguarding Taxpayer Data)
- IRS Publication 5293 (Data Security Resource Guide for Tax Professionals)
- Identity Theft Information for Tax Professionals
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