Security Summit partners amongst the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), state tax agencies and the tax industry are urging tax professionals and taxpayers to use multi-factor authentication amid increased security incidents in the US.
The feature is available on tax software products and aim to protect against identity and data theft.
The call comes as Security Summit partners have launched the annual 2021 ‘Protect Your Clients’ Protect Yourself’ summer campaign which is aimed at tax professionals.
The theme of this year is ‘Boost Security Immunity: Fighting Against Identity Theft’, which will aim to urge tax professionals to “step up their efforts” to protect client data amid the pandemic and its aftermath.
Multi-factor authentication provides increased security and allows tax professionals or taxpayers to use another feature, such as a security code sent to a mobile device, a pin number or a fingerprint in addition to the username and password.
The IRS warned that criminals may steal usernames and passwords, however, they can’t access accounts without the additional multifactor feature.
IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig said: “The Security Summit has made great strides to protect the tax community, but we need the help of everyone in the tax professional community.
“Using the multi-factor authentication feature available on tax preparation products is one of the easiest and cheapest security measures any tax pro can take. It’s offered for free by the tax software providers. As people continue to get vaccines, we urge tax professionals as well as taxpayers to boost their security immunity and help in the battle against identity theft.”
This will mark the sixth year of the tax professional campaign, which is part of a wider effort by the Security Summit coalition of the IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax community to strengthen protections against identity and data theft threatening the tax system.
This is the first in a series of weekly news releases running through August 17.