Above the Forms: Expanded Security for Tax Professionals

Tax Law and News Security for tax professionals

You play a critical role in the ongoing, industry-wide fight against tax fraud. That’s why I was so honored to represent Intuit® and our ProConnect™ customers at the IRS Security Summit meeting on Nov. 3. At the meeting, we had the privilege of highlighting the important contributions tax and accounting professionals make in helping safeguard taxpayer information and combat fraud.

In March 2015, the IRS, state departments of revenue and the tax preparation industry joined together to fight tax fraud and protect tax professionals and taxpayers in service, in order to strengthen the American tax system. Since then, the unprecedented collaboration through the IRS Security Summit has made a substantive impact in the fight against fraud.

As a result of actions taken from the Security Summit process, the IRS has reported that fewer people became victims of tax-related identity theft during this past tax season. Government and industry protected more taxpayers from tax-related identity theft, stopped more suspicious tax returns and prevented more fraudulent refunds from getting into criminal hands. In fact, from January through April 2016, the IRS stopped $1.1 billion in fraudulent refunds.

But, there’s still much work to do.

As the industry leader, Intuit is committed to doing our part to actively promote a set of best practices and standards for reporting suspicious behavior to the IRS and states to help them improve their ability to identify tax fraud.

Security is built into everything we do. For the coming tax season, Intuit ProConnect customers and their clients will benefit from additional security measures that build on safeguards enacted over the last several years, as well as reflect our continued role in supporting industry and the government’s collaborative efforts to fight fraud and help protect taxpayer information.

The IRS Security Summit has developed industry requirements for the authentication of tax pros who use online and desktop professional tax solutions. In support of these standards, firms using Intuit ProConnect Lacerte® and ProSeries® must now have all users create a unique username and password, and use it to access their desktop tax software. You’ll also be required to log in after a period of inactivity, and create and use strong passwords that will need to be updated every 90 days. These changes supplement multi-factor authentication introduced last year in ProConnect Tax Online, helping further safeguard you and your clients, while helping fight fraud and identity theft.

I’ve written a lot of content over the past months about the future of professional tax and accounting, and the vital role new technologies will play. The trends we are seeing will provide new opportunities to deliver value that your clients need, and we’re hard at work to ensure you and your firm have the capabilities you need to thrive. That includes security.

At Intuit ProConnect, we know your clients expect you to help safeguard their most trusted financial information. You have our commitment to work to be at the forefront of the industry-wide efforts to combat tax fraud. We’ll also continue to work across the profession to provide critical information on security, scams and identity theft prevention measures aimed at tax professionals, in order for you to take steps to further protect client data and your business.

Protecting taxpayers and strengthening the integrity of the U.S. tax system is a team effort, and we’re proud to be a part of your team.

Editor’s note: For more information on best practices in identity theft and IRS authentication, read Christopher Ragain’s article “New IRS Identity Authentication and ID Theft Protection Guidelines.”