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The IRS and its Security Summit partners from the national tax industry and state tax agencies announced the 8th annual National Tax Security Awareness Week, set to begin November 27. Protection of financial information and identity theft prevention are the focus of the week-long awareness campaign backed by the Security Summit. This coalition consists of the IRS, state agencies, tax professionals, and tax software companies whose goal is to promote private and public sector cooperation to increase knowledge of the threats tax preparers face. Drake Software® is proud to be an original member of the Security Summit and continues to hold membership with 23 other industry offices. 

The National Tax Security Awareness Week Itinerary 

Drake users have a lot to look forward to during this year’s National Tax Security Awareness Week: 

  • Partners of the Security Summit will have access to educational material in the form of IRS publications and e-posters to help spread security awareness. 
  • The IRS has a social media awareness campaign planned on all of the social channels used by the Security Summit. 
  • Press Releases sharing the central topics to National Tax Security Awareness Week will release daily, providing information to tax professionals about avoiding the dangers of tax schemes and identity theft. 

During the end of the year and holiday season, increased online gift purchases and tax filing deadlines can present increased risk of losing private information by way of scams and fraud. The National Tax Security Awareness Week’s timing is designed to refresh tax preparers on how to avoid these situations which can appear in the form of identity thieves posing as charitable organizations or even the IRS using fake emails and text messages asking for personal tax information which they can use to file returns. 

Both Drake Software and the IRS recommend tax professionals review their security measures this week and implement some of the strategies listed below to identify and thwart these theft attempts: 

  • Preparers should create data security and recovery plans to handle or prevent information breaches.
  • Tax professionals can familiarize themselves with phone schemes where the caller pretends to be a new client. 
  • The FTC requires that tax preparers use multi-factor authentication to safeguard client data. Tax software accounts should also be protected with multi-factor authentication. 
  • Tax employees and professionals working remotely need to use a VPN. 

The November 30 webinar, Developing a Written Security Information Plan, led by Jared Ballew, the Vice President of Government Relations at Drake Software and representatives from the IRS covers tax security to educate tax preparers on dangers and solutions from tax fraud. The registration link can be found on this IRS news release. 

Additional Security Focuses for the Week 

One topic at the forefront of this year’s National Tax Security Awareness Week is the IRS Identity Protection Pin program. This is a service taxpayers can use to help protect their tax returns. The pin is a six-digit code only the IRS, the filing individual, and a trustworthy tax provider should know. It guards social security information on tax refunds. If interested in this security measure, visit the IRS link here. 

The Security Summit recognizes small businesses as the group most likely to be the victim of financial fraud and will cover ways to specifically protect them during tax security week. The 14039-B theft report form and W-2 income information scam and topics of conversation for small companies. 

Resources and Information 

Drake Software strives to offer our clients the best resources and security available in the industry. We published several blogs this year that are companion pieces for the tax preparer security topics covered this week. Read our blog posts on cybersecurity, employee retention credit scams and IRS security requirements for more preparation to fend off attacks on sensitive information. 

The article from the IRS on National Tax Security Awareness Week can be found here. 

Article provided by Taxing Subjects.