Things You Need To Follow For Smooth Tax Season 2016

Tax Season has already begun, and you would be busy filing tax returns by now. But, you are not really ready for it until you prepare yourself to confront this new tax scam. The busiest time of the year seeks your attention not only to prepare tax returns for your clients but also to protect yourself from becoming prey to scammers. Like every year IRS is suspecting some new scams this year. Although IRS has reported a smooth opening of tax season this year with receipt of several thousand tax returns and no real filing issues. But IRS has also admitted that in 2016 it has already seen several email phishing scams, some posing as the IRS. IRS said that scammers are targeting Tax preparers to steal sensitive information – either the preparers’ passwords for IRS accounts or sensitive taxpayer data stored on computers. Tax preparers are getting emails asking them to update their e-services information. The links provided in the email to access e-Services appear to be a phishing scam to capture e-Services usernames and passwords. If you receive any such email impersonating to be from a legitimate organisation, keep in mind the following things:

  • Do not click on the links or take any other action. Just disregard the email and go directly to their websites instead
  • Just remember that no legitimate organisation- be it your bank, or IRS will ever ask for sensitive information through such unsecured methods.
  • To avoid malware, don’t open attachments in emails unless you know who sent it and what it contains.

Scam emails and websites can infect your computer with malware and the malware can give the scammer access to all the sensitive data on your device or track your login information. IRS suggests tax preparers to use computer security scans to avoid such situation:

  • Robust security software that helps block malware should be installed for preparers and all employees. Keep it turned on and active at all times.
  • Use the “deep scan” function to fully scan all drives and files for any malware or viruses. Performing a deep scan periodically can find any bugs that hide in places a “quick scan” does not search.
  • Set your security software to update automatically so it is always up-to-date to detect new and emerging malware and viruses.
  • Review the security plan for your office and operations. IRS Publication 4557 can help you.
  • Educate employees about the dangers of phishing malware, emails and other scams. One phishing email can result in all office computers being hacked.

Although Tax season is in full swing but taking some time out and practicing these security methods will keep your personal and financial data protected from scammers. Source: