Many of us use the same sign-on and password over and over for our online accounts. Once a criminal has your password for one account, it’s highly likely you’ve used the same sign-on information for other accounts.
The IRS, state revenue departments and the tax industry have teamed up to combat identity theft in the tax arena. That’s why they have all agreed to new stronger standards that will safeguard your information when you access your tax software products for 2016 and file your taxes. These include:
- A password that has eight or more characters, including upper case, and lower case letters as well as numbers and a special character.
- New features include a timed lockout and limits on unsuccessful log-in attempts.
- You must complete three security questions.
- Tax software partners must verify email addresses. In many cases, this means a PIN will be sent to your email or text that you must use to verify your address before you can proceed with your tax software.
These are just a few of the new protections that will be in place for the 2016 tax season to protect you from identity thieves. Most of the protections may not be visible, but they will add layers of protection nonetheless, adding new and stronger protections during tax time.
It’s a good time for you to think about the passwords you use for other accounts. You should always use strong passwords with a mix of letters, numbers and special characters. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts. The longer, the better. And change your passwords regularly.
You should consult with your ATA representative to insure the measures and steps used by him/her in protecting your identity and tax information.