Security Summit: The IRS, State Agencies, & Tax Professionals Team Up
Tax professionals are entrusted with our most private financial and identifying data. It is disconcerting, though not surprising, that tax professionals are being increasingly targeted by identity thieves who are not only sophisticated but also part of organized syndicates. These cybercriminals use illegally-obtained private data to file both federal and state fraudulent income tax returns. In response to this growing threat, the IRS, state agencies and the broader tax community created a joint project in 2015 called the “Security Summit.” This collaboration launched the “Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself” campaign designed to educate and increase awareness among tax professionals, as well as encourage new security safeguards.
To spread the word on cybersecurity, scams and identity theft prevention measures, the IRS and its Security Summit partners began issuing a series of tips and fact sheets which include steps that can be taken by tax professionals to protect client data and their businesses.
If you’re a tax professional, be sure to read up on the campaign’s new releases, fact sheets, and alerts. The following are some highlights:
- News Release: IR-2016-116, Aug. 30, 2016, “New Security Summit Video Warns Tax Pros of Cybercriminal Threats; Urges Precautionary Steps”
- Fact Sheet: FS-2016-23, July 2016, "Tax Professionals: Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself from Identity Theft"
- Alert: IR-2016-119, Sept. 2, 2016, "IRS Warns of a New Wave of Attacks Focused on Tax Professionals"
- Alert: IRS Statement, April 15, 2016, "New Tax Scam Targeting Tax Professionals"
- IRS Security Awareness Tax Tip #11, August 9, 2016, "Tax Professionals: Monitor Your PTIN for Suspicious Activity"
- IRS Security Awareness Tax Tip #10, January 21, 2016, "Tax Preparers: Perform a Deep Security Scan of Your Computer Drives"
To stay on top of these tips, new releases, fact sheets, and alerts, regularly visit here.
While it seems unlikely there will be an end to identity theft very soon, the tax community must stay educated, take preventative measures, and remain vigilant.
—By Keobopha Keopong, Esq., Barnes Law
Keo Keopong is an associate attorney with Barnes Law, licensed to practice law in California.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.
 See, e.g., “New Phishing Scheme Mimics Software Providers; Targets Tax Professionals," IR-2016-103, Aug. 11, 2016 <https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/new-phishing-scheme-mimics-software-providers-targets-tax-professionals>.
 “IRS, Partners Warn Tax Preparers of Data Theft Risks; Launch New Campaign to Increase Awareness”, IR-2016-96, July 6, 2016 <https://www.irs.gov/uac/irs-and-partners-warn-tax-preparers-of-data-theft-risks-and-launch-new-campaign-to-increase-awareness>; https://www.irs.gov/individuals/protect-your-clients-protect-yourself?_ga=1.231326044.2101671845.1459264262.
 Related blog posting regarding identity theft by Derek Jordan, Barnes Law: http://www.barneslawllp.com/irs-report-millions-identities-stolen/