Tax practitioners and their clients are concerned about the growing epidemic of tax-related identity theft. The AICPA shares members' concerns about the impact of identity theft and offers the resources below to help them learn more about this issue and advise clients. We have provided recommendations to Congress and the IRS Oversight Board on ways to further protect taxpayers and preparers.
To stay abreast of continued efforts on identity theft, see AICPA Identity Theft Tax Advocacy Efforts.
This toolkit provides the resources you need to discuss tax-related identity theft with your clients, address account problems with the IRS and maintain the highest security measures for your firm.
Checklists, Practice Guides and Templates
- Best Practices for Keeping Client Data Secure: Addresses guidance on secure portals, a clean desk policy, employee training, e-filing and other security measures.
- Letter to Advise Client After Tax-Related Identity Theft Occurs: Provides advice on two common situations: (1) e-file rejection and (2) a notice/account problem.
Videos, Webcast Archives and Other Media
- Recognizing Identity Theft: Practitioners share common reasons why tax-related identity theft occurs and how to recognize when it happens to your clients.
- How Do You Resolve Identity Theft: Practitioners share their strategies on ways to resolve tax-related identity theft (who to call, what IRS form to file, etc.).
- How U.S. consumers are fighting identity theft: Cybercrime losses hit $19.4 billion in 2017; read how consumers are addressing these problems, Journal of Accountancy, June 2018.
- Small businesses should guard against tax-related identity theft: The IRS urged small businesses to be wary of a growing amount of identity theft attempts aimed at employers and small businesses, Journal of Accountancy, May 2018.
- The war on tax ID theft continues: CPAs' role: Highlights IRS initiatives on reducing tax-related identity theft and fraudulent returns as well as best practice for tax professionals, Journal of Accountancy, Aug. 2017.
- Data compromises: A tax practitioner's nightmare: Mark Kahler, National Identity Theft Coordinator for IRS Criminal Investigation, discusses cybersecurity schemes and ways to combat them, Tax Section News, March 2017.
- Keeping clients' tax data secure: Addresses how to protect your firm, educate your clients and develop a data breach response plan, Journal of Accountancy, Oct. 2016.
- Breaking bad news to victims of identity theft: Lessons from medical doctors: CPAs can better help clients by learning counseling techniques from medical professionals, Journal of Accountancy, Aug. 2016.
- Financial Reporting Center Cybersecurity Resource Center: Collection of resources to help businesses with cybersecurity.
- Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit: Use this form to report identity theft to the IRS.
- Identity Protection: Preventing, Detection and Victim Assistance Resource page: IRS’s one-stop shop for all of its identity theft resources (publications, YouTube videos, etc.).
- Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself: IRS and its Security Summit partners provide information on the latest scams and prevention measures aimed at tax professionals.
- Why Tax Professionals Need a Security Plan: In this IRS video, learn the importance of tax professionals establishing data security plans.
- What to Do After a Tax Professional Data Compromise: This IRS video gives steps tax professionals should take if they are the victim of a data compromise
- Tax Preparer Tips for Hiring a Cybersecurity Professional: The IRS provides tips for tax preparers to consider when evaluating and selecting a cybersecurity professional
- IdentityTheft.gov: New website that offers step-by-step checklists that explain what to do right away depending on the information that has been stolen or exposed.
- Get an Identity Protection PIN (IP-PIN): Provides guidance on what an IP-PIN is, why it is needed and how to request one for your client.
- Stakeholder Liaison Local Contacts: The IRS has advised any firm who experiences a client data breach to contact their local stakeholder liaison for help.
- Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), IRS Impersonation Scam: Online form to fill out to report an IRS impersonation scam. [Note that a taxpayer may also call (800) 366-4484 to report the scam.]
- Protecting Your Client and Your Firm from Tax Return Identity Theft: Covering cyber security and identity theft issues, this in-depth course will cover best practices for your firm and client data (4.5 CPE credits).
Reviewed Sept. 23, 2018