The average cost of every U.S. data breach is $8.2 million. Optima Tax Relief reviews the measures the IRS is taking to enhance taxpayer data security.
The Internal Revenue Service recently unveiled its new data security and identity protection resource, Identity Theft Central. This webpage gives taxpayers and tax professionals tools for easily reporting taxpayer identity theft in addition to providing information on identity protection. The page is available 24 hours a day, and contains instructional content for businesses, individuals, and tax professionals.
The concept of Identity Theft Central is the product of the Security Summit – the partnership of the IRS, state tax agencies, and the tax preparation industry throughout the U.S. The objective of the Security Summit coalition is the improvement of data protection resources, education, and outreach. The intuitive and easy-to-navigate Identity Theft Central page gives users valuable information on the following topics:
- How to respond to identity theft
- Liability for tax professionals who have experienced data theft
- How businesses can identify identity theft/data breaches
Identity Theft Central provides in-depth white papers and publications detailing security protocols that individuals, businesses, and tax professionals can deploy to protect themselves. Additionally, the webpage offers bullet-pointed, easy-to-read guidelines and video content specifying techniques for safeguarding data on computers and phones. Chuck Rettig, IRS Commissioner, has provided a video message encouraging taxpayers to enhance their security measures for their communications devices and home wi-fi systems.
The Security Summit was launched in 2015 to combat criminal organizations and individuals in the U.S. and abroad that were illicitly obtaining taxpayer information and filing fraudulent tax returns. Two years after the Security Summit’s inception, the number of returns filed using stolen identities dropped by 57 percent.
To learn more about Identity Theft Central or the Security Summit, please visit the IRS.gov website.