tax security

National Tax Security Awareness Week

We join the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry in helping to draw attention to tax security. Make sure you and your clients are actively working to protect financial and tax information.


“Taxpayers and tax professionals need to remain vigilant for increasingly sophisticated scams that look to steal sensitive financial information,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Doug O’Donnell. “The Security Summit effort focuses on highlighting simple steps that small businesses and people in all walks of life can take to protect their information, helping them avoid problems at tax time.”


Here's a quick list of recommendations to help protect individuals, businesses and tax professionals from identity theft.

Protect personal and financial information online

The IRS and the Security Summit partners remind people to take these basic steps when shopping online:

  • Use security software for computers and mobile phones – and keep it updated
  • Make sure anti-virus software for computers has a feature to stop malware, and that there is a firewall enabled that can prevent intrusions
  • Use strong and unique passwords for all accounts
  • Use multi-factor authentication whenever possible
  • Shop only secure websites; look for the "https" in web addresses and the padlock icon; avoid shopping on unsecured and public Wi-Fi in places like coffee shops, malls or restaurants

Review your security protocols

As identity thieves continue targeting tax professionals, the IRS and the Summit partners urge practitioners to review the “Taxes-Security-Together” Checklist, including:

  • Deploy basic security measures
  • Use multi-factor authentication to protect tax software accounts
  • Create a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if working remotely
  • Create a written data security plan as required by federal law
  • Know about phishing and phone scams

Get an Identity Protection PIN

Taxpayers who can verify their identities online may opt-in to the IRS IP PIN program – a tool taxpayers can use to protect themselves – and their tax refund. Here’s what taxpayers need to know:

  • The Identity Protection PIN or IP PIN is a six-digit code known only to the individual and the IRS. It provides another layer of protection for taxpayers’ Social Security numbers on tax returns.
  • Use the Get an Identity Protection PIN (IP PIN) tool at to immediately get an IP PIN
  • Never share the IP PIN with anyone but a trusted tax provider

Businesses should watch out for tax-related scams and implement safeguards

Most cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Some details from this segment include:

  • Learn about best security practices for small businesses
  • IRS continues protective masking of sensitive information on business transcripts
  • A Business Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039-B, is available for businesses to report theft to the IRS
  • Beware of various scams, especially the W-2 scam that attempts to steal employee income information
  • Check out the “Business” section on IRS’s Identity Theft Central at theft