Tax Insights

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

Tax preparation, security and the IRS

I received an email from the Internal Revenue Service – no, really, it is legitimate. It wasn’t a scam trying to get my personal information – I have actually signed up for these emails directly on IRS.gov.  There is this page where you can subscribe to emails – turns out that some of them are actually pretty helpful.

Don’t miss: Did you receive IRS Notice CP21C? It’s wrong!

Anyway, since this is from an email I subscribed to – which is very different from someone purporting to be from the IRS – I wanted to mention that we are complying with IRS recommendations and rules.

The IRS has a Security Summit, of which we are in the fifth year. This is a collaboration between the IRS, state taxing agencies and the tax industry.

New for 2020 returns – those filed in 2021 –  is the addition of multi-factor authentication (MFA). However, at Henry+Horne, we are ahead of the plan in this regard.

We have required multi factor authentication for several months to even access any of our client files or client data. And this is not just a code that can be texted or emailed – it is an actual app that is downloaded to a cell phone specific to each team member. As an additional step, our tax software added the feature in May 2020, and we have been using this additional multi factor authentication since then. So – once to get into our computers, and then again to access our tax software.

Yes, it may be a bit of an additional step, but it is something that is important for the security of our clients.

Unfortunately, tax professionals are a prime target for fraudsters and those who would like to have the professional designation of Identity Thief. Even if a phishing email were to be successful – and we do have security training so that our team can spot those – it is unlikely that the professionals cell phone would be accessible. That is why MFA is so important.

And while no system is fool-proof, the additional layers make us a more secure place for our clients and their identifiable data. If you have any questions about our security protocol and practices, please contact your Henry+Horne advisor.

Donna H. Laubscher, CPA