In March 2015 the IRS joined state tax governments across the country and members of the tax industry to create the Security Summit. Through this effort, the Summit was organized to fight identity theft and make everyone aware of the theft risk guiding them to take steps to protect their tax data and identities. They have prepared safeguards for the 2018 tax filing season.
Since its creation, the Security Summit partnership has led to stronger Federal and state tax systems than just a few years ago. Their work is helping towards new protections for taxpayers. The latest IRS data is showing significant improvements with fewer taxpayers reporting identity theft, fewer fraudulent returns and fewer theft returns entered into the IRS system.
The Security Summit is looking at ways to improve existing protections and add new protections for the 2018 tax filing season. One of the pilot programs they have expanded for the filing of 2017 taxes, is a way to verify W-2 information on e-filed individual income tax returns. This system includes a verification box that will appear on W-2 forms beginning in 2018. Certain payroll service providers will enter a 16 digit code in this box that also should be entered on your tax return. This verification will help to ensure the W-2 is authentic and the IRS urges everyone to enter this code whether you have your returns prepared by a tax professional or you prepare them yourself.
Taxpayers can help protect their identity by being sure to always to use security software with anti-virus and firewall protection. Never click on links or download attachments from unknown sources. Learn to avoid phishing emails and threatening calls and or texts from persons posing as legitimate organizations such as your credit card company or your bank, or even the IRS. Use strong passwords and when you have to send personal information, and only use encrypted websites. Always err on the side of caution and be overly protective with information as it can save you years of headaches. You can read more on IRS scams here.
Written by Norma Hill