The IRS is getting more serious about deterring taxpayer ID theft. In collaboration with state taxing authorities and other stakeholders, it has announced a new program featuring special tax tips for protecting vital personal information. The “Taxes. Security. Together.” campaign is designed to raise public awareness that even routine online actions or use of electronic devices may affect the safety of financial and tax data.
The series of Security Awareness Tax Tips, which will be in English and Spanish, will be available on IRS.gov, as well as through the individual states and other tax industry sources. Taxpayers can also sign up to receive the tips by email. The initial tip kicking off the series lays out seven ways to protect your computer during the upcoming tax return season. A new tip will become available each Monday through the start of the tax season in January.
“These are common-sense tips to help taxpayers,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a press release. “While many people follow these, we all know someone who can miss taking critical steps to protect their sensitive personal and financial information, which can be used to file a fraudulent tax return.”
In coming weeks, the tax tip series will focus on key topics such as ongoing phishing schemes and aggressive phone scammers posing as IRS officials. Other tips will address the importance of protecting sensitive paper and electronic tax records and watching out for friends and family who don’t keep their computer’s software security updated.
“With more than 150 million households filing tax returns, we all have a part to play,” added Koskinen. “With the public’s help, this will greatly strengthen and improve the new tools being put in place by the IRS, states and industry this January.”
The three main partners in the program – the IRS, the states and other tax industry sources –will also be releasing additional YouTube videos highlighting these tips as the tax filing season approaches. The first video in the series is now available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMH8TBeA4lE. To learn additional steps you can take to protect personal and financial data, visit www.irs.gov/taxessecuritytogether.