Thursday, March 5, 2020

Tax Tip 2020-31: Tax pros should remember to safeguard EFINs

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IRS Tax Tips March 5, 2020

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Issue Number: Tax Tip 2020-31

Tax pros should remember to safeguard EFINs 

Tax professionals should remember that they can be prime targets for criminals. These criminals not only want to steal client data, but also the professionals' data, such as their electronic filing identification numbers.

A thief who breaches the data of one tax return preparer can get their hands on lots of other data. In fact, they can get personal info on hundreds or even thousands of people.

One way to watch for suspicious activity is for preparers to check the activity on their EFIN. They can review it to see how many federal tax returns have been filed using their number.

Tax pros should routinely verify the number of returns submitted using their EFIN. It's especially important for them to do this during the tax filing season. This can be done through IRS e-Services. If they don't have an account, then they should visit e-Services and register for one.

Once they establish and log into their e-Services account, the preparer should follow these five easy steps to verify the number of returns electronically filed with the IRS:

  1. Select their name
  2. In the left banner, select Application
  3. In the left banner, select e-file Application
  4. Select their name again
  5. Select EFIN Status

After this last step, the screen shows the number of returns filed based on return type. Preparers can see the number of returns the IRS received, and match that number to their records. The IRS updates this information weekly. Preparers should contact the IRS e-help Desk at 866-255-0654 if their records don't match what they see in the system. They should contact the IRS if they see anything else suspicious in their account.

More information:
Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation
Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized IRS E-file Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns

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