IRS Alert: Monitor Your PTIN and EFIN

Posted on August 12, 2016 · Posted in Breaking News, Industry News, Latest Updates, Practice Management

Given the proliferation of phishing schemes targeting tax professionals, return preparers should monitor the usage of their Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) and Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN).

PTINs – Someone else may use your PTIN to file legitimate returns or refund fraud returns. All credentialed preparers and Annual Filing Season Program participants can monitor their PTIN activity in their PTIN accounts to ensure the number of returns filed using their PTIN matches IRS records. For more information, see Tax Tip 2016-11 on the IRS Security Awareness Tax Tips web page on IRS.gov. Click here for a screen shot from the PTIN system showing what this information looks like.

TINs – Your clients’ Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs) may be stolen if your systems are hacked, in order to file fraudulent refund returns. All preparers can monitor their EFIN activity in their IRS e-Services account (from within the e-file application). Check the EFIN status of your application through e-Services Online Tools to make sure the volume of returns e-filed matches your records. You can also review your acknowledgement report totals. If your records do not agree, your EFIN may have been compromised.

These are security steps that preparers should regularly do all year, but especially during the filing season.

This information was provided by Marc Zine, CPA, IRS Senior Stakeholder Liaison.