New IRS Security Measures Aim to Keep Taxpayers Safe

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From the Internal Revenue Service:

The Internal Revenue Service has taken new steps for 2016 to protect you and help reduce the risk of identity theft this filing season.

It’s no secret that identity theft of all kinds is persistent, time consuming and frustrating. When criminals steal your personal data (especially your name and Social Security number) they can use that information to file a fraudulent tax return. That’s referred to as tax-related identity theft.

That’s why the IRS, states and tax industry are committed to working together to combat tax-related identity theft and refund fraud. This group, called the Security Summit, has announced stronger protections for taxpayers and the nation’s tax system that are in effect for the 2016 tax season. The Security Summit designed these protections to reduce the chances that you’ll become the victim of tax-related identity theft.

Need tax help now? Call CEA at (952) 831-0085 or Click Here for assistance.

What’s Changing for You?

The new measures attack tax-related identity theft from multiple sides. Many changes will be invisible to you but invaluable to the IRS in protecting you. Here are some important changes you may see:

  • There will be new security requirements when you’re preparing your taxes online, especially when you sign in to your tax software account, to better protect your tax software account and personal information.
  • Some state returns may ask for additional identity information, such as your driver’s license number, to make sure it’s really you.
  • The IRS will still process nine out of 10 federal refunds within 21 days. States have their own refund processing time frames that will vary, and some states may make additional reviews to ensure refunds are being issued properly.

The IRS Needs Your Help

While the IRS is working to strengthen tax-filing security, they are also asking taxpayers to take steps to help protect their information. A few highlights:

  • Always use security software with firewall and anti-virus protections. Make sure the security software is always turned on and can automatically update. Encrypt sensitive files such as tax records you store on your computer. Use strong passwords.
  • Learn to recognize and avoid phishing emails, threatening calls and texts from thieves posing as legitimate organizations such as your bank, credit card companies and even the IRS. Do not click on links or download attachments from unknown or suspicious emails.
  • Protect your personal data. Don’t routinely carry your Social Security card, and make sure your tax records are secure. Treat your personal information like you do your cash; don’t leave it lying around.

For these and other tips, see Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers, available at IRS.gov.

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