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How the IRS Taxpayer Bill of Rights Works

 

Taxpayers have fundamental rights under the law. The “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” presents these rights in 10 categories. This helps taxpayers when they interact with the IRS.

Publication 1, Your Rights as a Taxpayer, highlights a list of taxpayer rights and the agency’s obligations to protect them. Here is a wrap-up of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights:

1. The Right to Be Informed.

Taxpayers have the right to know what is required to comply with the tax laws. They are entitled to clear explanations of the laws and IRS procedures in all tax forms, instructions, publications, notices and correspondence. They have the right to know about IRS decisions affecting their accounts and clear explanations of the outcomes.

2. The Right to Quality Service.

What to Do If You Suffer a Data Breach or Other Security Incident

Tax professionals are increasingly targets of cybercriminals seeking access to client data. Criminals use the stolen information to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds. Be prepared to protect your clients and yourself by taking a few critical steps.

Should you experience a data compromise, there are certain basic steps you should take. For a comprehensive list of security actions, consult a security professional. Also see Data Theft Information for Tax Professionals on IRS.gov.

Preliminary steps include:

Contact the IRS and law enforcement:

Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – Secure Your Office

Tax professionals can help protect taxpayer data by looking around their own offices. It’s more important than ever that tax professionals take aggressive steps to protect taxpayer information. Securing office space is as important as securing computers.

In assessing how secure your office is, consider these questions:

Employers and Coverage Providers: 11 Facts About Health Care Information Forms

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies, self-insured companies, and large businesses and businesses that provide health insurance to their employees must submit information returns to the IRS and individuals reporting on health coverage. 

Taxpayers can use the information on these forms when they file their tax returns to verify the months that they had minimum essential coverage and determine if they satisfied the individual shared responsibility provision of the health care law. The IRS will use the information on the statements to verify the months of the individual’s coverage.

Here is some information about the types of forms, the purpose of each, and noteworthy dates

Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage

Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – How to Get Started

Tax professionals must safeguard taxpayer data by law. It is also critical to tax preparers’ business success. Protect your clients and yourself by taking a few common sense steps.

You can seek advice from security consultants or insurance companies. IRS Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, also offers tips on how to get started.

These best practices include:

IRS Offers Tips on Validating Your Identity on Your Tax Return

You should always keep a copy of your tax return. It is even more important for 2017, as the Internal Revenue Service moves to strengthen its e-signature validation process.

You must use your 2015 adjusted gross income or your 2015 self-select PIN to validate your identity on your federal electronic tax return this tax season. The electronic filing PIN is no longer available as an option.

The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry – partners in combating identity theft -ask for your help in their efforts. Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference.

That’s why we launched a public awareness campaign that we call “Taxes. Security. Together.” We’ve also launched a series of security awareness tips that can help protect you from cybercriminals.

Safeguarding Taxpayer Data – Avoid Scams

Tax return preparers should beware of various ruses and schemes used by cybercriminals. These scams allow criminals to gain access to passwords or computer systems which allows them to steal taxpayer data. Many schemes are currently making the rounds.

Protect your clients and yourself from these ongoing and increasingly sophisticated efforts to steal data.

How serious is this threat? Here are a few examples of criminal scams and schemes intent on stealing your information from just the past few months: