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Post Date:  7/11/2019
Last Updated:  7/11/2019

Summary
Cross References
- IR-2019-122, July 9, 2019

Leaders from the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry have called on tax professionals nationwide to take time this summer to review their current security practices, enhance safeguards where necessary and take steps to protect their businesses from global cybercriminal syndicates prowling the internet.

Despite major progress by the IRS and the Security Summit partners against identity theft, evolving tactics continue to threaten the tax community and the sensitive data of taxpayers.

To help combat this, the Security Summit partners created a new "Taxes. Security. Together." Checklist to serve as a starting point for tax professionals. Beginning next week, the IRS and Summit partners will issue a series of five Tax Security 2.0 news releases on www.irs.gov highlighting "Taxes. Security. Together." Checklist action items.

"The IRS, the states, and the private sector tax industry have taken major steps to protect taxpayers and their data," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "But a major risk remains, regardless of whether you are the sole tax practitioner in your office or part of a multi-partner accounting firm. To help with this, we assembled a security checklist to assist the tax community. We hope tax professionals will use our checklist as a starting point to do everything necessary to protect their client's data."

The Security Summit — a partnership between the IRS, states and the private-sector tax community — started in 2015 to combat identity theft and protect taxpayers. Key IRS data show the Summit continues making major progress against tax-related identity theft. Between 2015 and 2018, key indicators showed:
- The number of taxpayers who reported to the IRS that they were victims of identity theft fell 71%. In 2018, the IRS received 199,000 identity theft affidavits from taxpayers compared to 677,000 in 2015. This was the third consecutive year this number declined. - The number of confirmed identity theft returns stopped by the IRS declined by 54%, falling from 1.4 million in 2015 to 649,000 in 2018.

As the Summit has increased the tax community's defenses against identity theft and refund fraud, cybercriminals continue to evolve. Increasingly, they look to data thefts at tax professionals' offices to obtain large amounts of sensitive taxpayer data. Thieves then use stolen data from tax professionals to create fraudulent returns that are harder to detect.

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