- Security Summit Warns of New Phishing Email Targeting Tax Pros
The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to beware of phishing emails purporting to be from a tax software education provider and seeking extensive amounts of sensitive preparer data.
The email’s origin is unknown but likely issued by cybercriminals who could be operating from the U.S. or abroad. The email is unusual for the amount of sensitive preparer data that it seeks. This preparer information will enable the thieves to steal client data and file fraudulent tax returns.
The IRS reminds all tax professionals that legitimate businesses and organizations never ask for usernames, passwords or sensitive data via email. Nor should a preparer ever provide such sensitive information via email if asked.
All tax professionals should be aware that their e-Services credentials, the Electronic Filing Information Number (EFIN), the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and their Centralized Authorization File (CAF) number are extremely valuable to identity thieves. Anyone handling taxpayer information has a legal obligation to protect that data.
Because the IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, acting in partnership as the Security Summit, are making inroads on individual tax-related identity theft, cybercriminals increasingly target tax professionals. Thieves are looking for real client data so they can better impersonate the taxpayer when filing fraudulent returns for refunds.
The fake email uses the name of a real U.S.-based preparer education firm. Here’s the text as it appears in phishing emails being sent to tax professionals: In our database, there is a failure, we need your information about your account.
In addition, we need a photo of the driver’s license, send all the data to the letter. Please do it as soon as possible, this will help us to revive the account.
*Company Name *
*EServices Username *
*EServices Password *
*EServices Pin *
*Answers to a secret question*
*EIN Number *
*Owner/Principal Name *
*Owner/Principal DOB *
*Owner/Principal SSN *
*Prior Years AGI
Mother’s Maiden Name
If you received or fell victim to the scam email, forward a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you disclosed any credential information, contact the e-Services Help Desk to reset your password. If you disclosed information and taxpayer data was stolen, contact your local stakeholder liaison.
- Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) System Reopens
The IRS this week resumed the issuance and renewal of Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINs), without charge. Tax professionals can access the PTIN system here.
More information on the court order that prompted IRS to close the PTIN system earlier this month, including FAQs, is available on IRS.gov.
- IRS Now Accepting Renewal Applications for ITINs that Expire by Year End
The IRS is accepting renewal applications for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) set to expire at the end of 2017. The agency urges taxpayers with expiring ITINs to avoid the rush and submit their renewal applications now.
- Website Provides Tools to Help Small Businesses Understand Employment Taxes
Remind your small business clients of the many free products available to help them understand and comply with the law. Products available on IRS.gov include online calculators, printable calendars, step-by-step guidesand a series of educational webinars.
- Extended Maintenance Window for Modernized e-File this Weekend
The Modernized e-File (MeF) maintenance build window is being extended on Sunday, June 25. MeF systems will be unavailable for accepting submissions from 12:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. ET.
The build will deploy critical system updates. This extended window affects both the MeF Production and ATS Environments.
- YouTube: How to Use Get Transcript Online
Learn how you can request a copy of your client’s transcript of a prior year tax return in this YouTube video.