The ability to send and receive documents electronically has changed the way professional tax preparers do business. It has also opened the door to potential fraud and security breaches if proper precautions aren’t taken. Sending and receiving tax documents using unsecured unencrypted email or fax makes both you – the tax professional – and your clients an easy target for cybercriminals.
Protecting taxpayer data isn’t just a strong suggestion or good business practice…it’s the law. According to the FTC Safeguards Rule, tax return preparers must enact security plans to keep customer information secure. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is encouraging you to take time now to review your data security plans. Because tax professionals are being targeted more and more by cybercriminals trying to steal taxpayer data, it’s important to make sure you are protecting your client data and your business.
For more information on keeping client data safe, you can review IRS Publication 4557 Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – A Guide for Your Business. It provides information to help you:
- Understand basic security steps and how to take them;
- Recognize the signs of data theft and how to report data theft;
- Respond and recover from a data loss; and
- Understand and comply with the FTC Safeguards Rule.
Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns also provides information regarding six security and privacy standards e-file providers must meet.
While all this might seem confusing, a simple alternative to sending and receiving documents via email is to use a secure portal. TaxAct® Professional offers Client Xchange, a convenient, secure portal used to share documents with your clients. Our secure portal enables you and your clients to easily and safely exchange tax documents. Any type of document can be encrypted, stored, and accessed within the secure portal, it meets IRS standards, and you control who has access.
Protecting client data is your responsibility. Client Xchange provides a convenient, secure way to exchange tax documents with your client. For more information on how the service works, download our Client Xchange infographic. You can also contact TaxAct Professional Sales, 319.536.3561 or ProSales@TaxAct.com.