DATA SECURITY at OUR FIRM
Cyber warfare is the new battlefield worldwide, affecting millions of people and costing billions of dollars annually. Identity thieves are increasingly sophisticated and the black market for personal and financial information has exploded, making tax preparers and other professionals major targets for data theft. Cybersecurity remains a top priority at Boulder CPA Group, and we are committed to staying on the front line in defense of our clients’ valuable information.
We regularly evaluate the administrative, technical and physical safeguards we have in place to protect client data, complying with all regulations and recommendations.
We partner with a reputable IT firm to maintain and monitor our network 24/7, which includes state-of-the-art firewall and anti-virus protection, intrusion detection, limited access, spam and content filtering, full onsite and offsite backups, new hardware installations, and software upgrades with security patches.
We have strong password requirements for all our staff members, and they are continuously educated on our data security policies and procedures as well as any emerging threats to the integrity of our data.
We password-protect all emailed sensitive information, and we encourage the use of our online portal for the transmission of client documents. Documents on the portal are encrypted and stored securely in offsite data centers.
IDENTITY THEFT and YOU
There have been numerous well-publicized corporate and government data breaches in the last few years (see our ID Theft newsletter series) along with a proliferation of email scams and malicious software. Although not every breach results in identity theft, it is not surprising that the number of victims is substantially increasing. Not every identity theft is tax-related; however, we are seeing a significant rise in tax-related identity theft victims here at the firm.
We may discover that you are a victim of tax fraud when we e-file your tax return and it is immediately rejected due to a previous filing using the same social security number. In this situation, we will notify you and prepare a paper file to be mailed with an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039). Your case will be handled by the Identity Theft Victim Assistance unit of the IRS, with resolution taking up to 180 days for complex cases.
In another scenario, before we file your return, you may receive a letter (Letter 4883C) from the IRS because they are holding a suspicious return with your name on it. The letter contains detailed instructions to follow when you call the Taxpayer Protection Program to verify your identity and confirm that the filed return is or is not yours.
In either case, you may receive a 6-digit IP PIN for extra protection when filing future returns. You should also follow the recommendations of the Federal Trade Commission by reporting the identity theft to the FTC, contacting one of the major credit bureaus, and closing any fraudulently opened or accessed accounts.
We are here to support you through this burdensome process. If you would like us to correspond with the IRS on your behalf, we will need to obtain Power of Attorney (Form 2848) to be used only for representation before the IRS. Here are links to additional resources: