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IRS Re-Opens Online Transcript Service with Strengthened Authentication Process

Unless you live on a private desert island or don’t file an individual or business tax return (we highly recommend against this if you meet the filing thresholds!), you’re almost certainly linked with an organization that fell victim to a data breach…or you’ve suffered one yourself.

Tricksters and imposters continue to plague the IRS by filing fraudulent returns and contacting taxpayers to demand money. In the spring of 2015, the online transcript service shut down after officials found it was vulnerable to scammers.

The agency recognizes its responsibility to protect taxpayers’ data. The online transcript service has re-opened with an enhanced authentication process the IRS expects to use for additional self-help features in the future.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says, “The incident with Get Transcript Online illustrates a wider truth about identity theft in general, which is that there are no perfect systems. No one, either in the public or private sector, can give an absolute guarantee that a system will never be compromised.”

The new, two-step authentication process may increase difficulty for taxpayers attempting to access online services, but the more rigorous procedure will significantly enhance security.

If you simply see this process as too cumbersome, you can still order transcripts online or via phone for delivery by mail.

Expect to wait five to ten days to receive the document(s) by mail, but a caveat exists: they’re mailed to the address on record. If you moved since filing your last individual tax return, you must first file Form 8822, Change of Address. (Businesses should use Form 8822B.)

The IRS provides a fact sheet to help taxpayers prepare registration for online transcript access. This same procedure will take place to receive identity protection PINs and other online tools that require a high level of assurance.

If you feel you need an extra set of hands with all of these identity theft concerns, contact the Patrick & Robinson CPAs team of security-conscious tax preparers: Office@CPAsite.com or (904) 396-5400.

Stay safe out there!

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