Could There be a Silver Lining to Rising ID Theft?

Practice Management Examining a printed list of user names and passwords lying on top of a computer keyboard; shallow depth of field, a thumb holding the paper is present in the frame. The details are fake. Suitable image for internet or on-line security, password issues, computer vulnerability, user id administration, identity theft, etc. Camera: 36MP Nikon D800E.

Identity theft is estimated to hit another American every two seconds.1 While the implications are not fun for anyone, we like to believe that every cloud has a silver lining, so we dug deep to uncover a few ways to look on the bright side of this challenging situation.

First and foremost, an identity theft occurrence can be frightening for your clients. They will likely feel vulnerable and uncertain about where to begin to find a resolution if it happens to them.

Any time – and especially during tax season – is an excellent time to provide your clients with information and show them how they can get support if it happens to them. This also gives you a great opportunity for relationship and loyalty building.

Beyond the need for information and emotional support, the biggest challenge in dealing with an instance of identity theft is the amount of time it can take to resolve issues with the IRS and keep track of potential hits to your clients’ credit reports. Here’s where we have a silver lining. For tax year 2015, we’ve added a new solution through ProSeries® – Audit Assistance – that provides support for your clients in the event of identity theft or an IRS audit.

Identity Theft Restoration Services are included with Audit Assistance and cover these elements:

  • 24/7 access to Identity Theft Restoration Advocates
  • Customized state specific ID Recovery Kit,™ pre-completed and sent overnight
  • Notifications to appropriate bank or agencies, if other forms of ID were stolen
  • Fraud alerts on credit records
  • Daily credit monitoring from all three bureaus for six months

In addition, the program also provides personalized assistance with regards to an IRS audit in the form of:

  • Evaluation and drafting of IRS correspondence, as needed
  • Assistance with telephone communications with the IRS during an audit process
  • Explanation of claim requirements and available options
  • Help with Schedules A, C and E at no additional charge
  • Assistance with denied credits when tax return is unfunded, including Earned Income, child and dependent care, and more
  • Help with rejected W-7 applications
  • Assistance with IRS identity theft
  • Tax debt audit assistance, including installment agreements, tax penalty abatement and more
  • Up to $2,500 reimbursement for liability and interest for tax preparer error

Exclusions apply2.

Audit Assistance is offered by Tax Protection Plus and available in ProSeries for tax year 2015 with a 30-day money back guarantee3.

There is no cost to the preparer for Audit Assistance. In addition, you’ll receive a free, online, self-paced learning module on the topic of Identity Theft, for which you can earn a free CPE credit4 upon successful completion of the module. At $44.95, it’s a wise investment for your clients and one you can feel confident recommending. Plus, there’s another silver lining: for every client you enroll in Audit Assistance, you’ll receive $105.

To get started, you simply need to register to offer the solution.

While no one wants to have an actual identity theft occurrence, the topic itself does have a few positive opportunities for you and your business:

  1. Build stronger relationships with your clients
  2. Earn $10 per client for every client you register in Audit Assistance
  3. Earn a free CPE credit
  4. Offer your clients assistance in the event of an IRS audit or identity theft

Audit Assistance is part of a new suite of resources available this year called the Client Benefit Suite. For more information around the suite, click here.

1 Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2014 Identity Fraud Study

2 EXCLUSIONS: Not included or covered with Audit Assistance and Tax Reimbursement services are Non-resident federal returns; amended returns; returns other than individual 1040, including corporate, partnership, trust, estate, gift and employment returns; Returns in which the taxpayer or preparer had knowledge of additional taxes owed as of the date of enrollment in the Audit Assistance program; Returns prepared with gross negligence, recklessness, intentional misrepresentation or fraud; State or local returns; Returns that have become subject to IRS criminal investigations; IRS inquiries related to returns that address foreign income, flow-through entities (partnership and s-corporates as reported on Schedule K), court awards and damages, bartering income, cancelled debt, estate, and gift tax; Foreign tax credit, plug-in electric vehicle credit, residential energy efficient property credit, mortgage interest credit, credit to holders of tax credit bonds, health coverage tax credit, “Credit” for prior year minimum tax or excess Social Security tax or railroad retirement tax withheld; IRS inquiries and audits related to the Affordable Care Act. Tax reimbursement is not available if the Taxpayer preparer provided incomplete, incorrect or misleading information, or recklessly failed to include W-2, 1099 or any other taxable income on the return, or an inability to provide sufficient records to support any item on the return. Tax debt audit assistance requires that Taxpayer meet all IRS guidelines for approval and pay all associated governmental fees.

3 Audit Assistance membership may be cancelled for any reason, provided that Tax Protection Plus is notified in writing at Tax Protection Plus, PO Box 24279, Winston Salem, NC 27114, or by phone (866-942-8348), within the first 30 days of taxpayer’s membership.

4 You must complete the course in full and online by Dec 31, 2015, in order to receive one CE credit with the IRS for the 2016 calendar year. Course details will be emailed upon registration with Audit Assistance.

5 Earn $10 for every funded Refund Transfer client you successfully enroll for first-time Audit Assistance membership between Aug. 1, 2015 and April 15, 2016 whose refund transfer amount is sufficient to pay the $44.95 one-year. membership fee. $10 incentive is an introductory offer and subject to change in subsequent years. Available only to actively subscribed 2015 or later version ProSeries customers with an Intuit account in good standing. To participate you must be an authorized Audit Assistance tax preparer, enrolled via an Intuit-approved registration portal. See The Client Benefit Suite for details. Cost of Audit Assistance membership will be automatically deducted from the Refund Transfer balance. Individual Tax preparer credits under this offer will be collectively processed and paid not more than 12 weeks after the end of the then-current tax season. Offer may not be assigned, exchanges, sold, transferred, combined, or redeemed for cash or other goods and services. Subject to availability and additional terms and conditions may apply. Offer may be terminated or modified in Intuit’s discretion and terms, prices, features, services, and support are subject to change with or without notice.