National Tax Security Awareness Week, Day 2: Tax pros reminded about written security plans and data breach response; webinar on Nov. 30

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In an effort to safeguard taxpayers against identity theft, the IRS and the Security Summit partners are reminding tax professionals to protect both their own and their clients’ sensitive information. This includes implementing written security plans and adhering to new requirements for multi-factor authentication. The Federal Trade Commission now mandates that tax professionals must have a Written Information Security Plan (WISP) and use multi-factor authentication to secure taxpayer accounts and client information. To assist tax professionals in this regard, the IRS and the Security Summit partners will host a webinar on Nov. 30 to aid in the development of a security plan during National Tax Security Awareness Week.

During National Tax Security Awareness Week, the Security Summit partnership raises awareness about protecting information to prevent identity theft. The Summit, formed in 2015, coordinates efforts between the IRS, state tax agencies, and tax professionals to combat tax-related identity theft. With the holiday shopping season and tax season approaching, the partners emphasize the need for extra precautions. Tax professionals play a crucial role in safeguarding taxpayer information and should follow federal standards to protect their systems.

WISP, Multi-factor authentication can help tax pros protect their clients, protect themselves

The IRS and Security Summit partners stress the importance of tax professionals having a written information security plan (WISP) as required by federal law. A WISP serves as a security blueprint.

The Tax Professional team of the Summit has created a document that enables practitioners to easily develop their own WISP. This sample WISP, called Written Information Security Plan, provides a starting point for businesses of any size and can be customized based on the company’s activities, complexity, and sensitivity of customer data. There is no one-size-fits-all WISP. For instance, a sole practitioner can use a more concise and simplified plan compared to a 10-partner accounting firm, as demonstrated in the Security Summit group’s sample WISP.

Addressing security concerns for tax professionals can be challenging and costly. A WISP not only incorporates risk factors to be considered in an effective plan but also outlines the necessary actions to be taken in case of a security incident, data loss, or theft.

To help tax professionals learn more about these plans, the IRS and Summit partners plan a special webinar at 10:30 ET, Nov. 30. Tax professionals can earn one continuing education (CE) credit by registering and attending.

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