IRS e-services upgrade planned for 2017

Your Guide to State, Local, Federal, Estate + International Taxation

IRS e-services, hacking, tax, cyber, identity theft, fraudThe IRS has continued to experience security breaches from identity thieves and, as a result, has endeavored to upgrade IRS e-services with more secure and modern technology. Upgrades are expected to the Get Transcript app, the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) the e-file PIN, and the data retrieval tool for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Part of this effort also included a mailing of IRS Letter 5903 to certain e-services users who have access to sensitive data and asked them to revalidate their identities within 30 days, either online or by phone. Failure to respond results in suspension of the use of e-services.

The use of IRS e-services should not be affected and there should be no changes to the log-on process. However, users should notice an improved look and feel of the applications including the e-File application. Though the IRS has warned that some state tax authorities might experience some minor functionality issues during the upgrade process. But the upgrade process is planned to take place in the summer of 2017 which is normally a period of low activity.

In addition, the IRS plans to improve the security on its e-services apps by adding Secure Access, a two-factor authentication process, along with further advances as long as it has enough funds. They are also exploring additional options within their resources and based on user feedback.

Beware of scams that are currently out there trying to take advantage of efforts to strengthen IRS e-services. One of them is a bogus email asking you to click on a link to update your account but in reality is an attempt to steal your e-services credentials.

Dale F. Jensen, CPA