After making significant progress in combating identity theft aimed at individuals, the IRS is shifting its focus to business identity theft. At a recent Nationwide Tax Forum, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen indicated that over 10,000 fraudulent business tax returns were filed by criminals during the 2017 filing seasons (up from 4,000 in 2016). This is largely due to the increasing number of cyber attacks aimed at tax professionals to steal taxpayer information and file fraudulent tax returns. The IRS continues to warn practitioners to protect their client data and themselves.

As a result of the steady increase in email scams and cyber attacks, the Security Summit – a group that includes the IRS, State Tax Authorities and Tax Industry Firms – has launched awareness campaigns. The “Don’t take the Bait” campaign encourages -practitioners to increase their computer security and be cautious when opening email attachments. This includes establishing policies and training staff to understand and adhere to them.

The IRS plans to take a greater role in combating business identity theft. The agency, for example, will soon be asking practitioners to gather more information on their business clients. For 2017 business returns filed in 2018, tax preparation software will require the following information: the name and Social Security number of the company individual authorized to sign the return; estimated tax payment history; parent company information; additional information based on deductions claimed; and filing history for the company’s other business-related tax forms, such as 940 and 941. Although this may create a little more work for the practitioner, providing the additional information will help the IRS spot fraudulent returns.

At Bourke Accounting we have state of the art software that upgrades continually and protection on every computer and smart phone. We have implemented polices and procedures that the IRS requires of tax and bookkeeping offices and feel confident of our security status. So come on in and let’s work on making your financial life secure as well. Call us today at 502-451-8773, or stop by for a visit. See you soon!