Monday marked the start of “National Tax Security Awareness Week.” Thus I am devoting this post to reflections on the efforts to fortify our tax administration system against cybercriminals.

In the spring of 2015 the IRS, state tax officials, and the tax preparation industry initiated an unprecedented collaboration to strengthen the American tax system against tax return ID fraud. The ongoing partnership, through the IRS Security Summit, has made substantive achievements in the fight against fraud.

Designating the first week in December to Tax Security Awareness is just one of the many actions of the Security Summit efforts. Tax Security Awareness Week will feature the “Taxes. Security. Together.” campaign aimed to inform individuals, businesses, and tax professionals about the importance of protecting personal, tax and financial data online and in the home. The campaign will offer tips and common sense suggestions on what individuals can do to protect their identity.

For our part, Intuit will amplify the IRS campaign through our ongoing messaging on tips and tools that educate customers on security measures they should take to protect themselves and their clients from fraud and identify theft. Individual taxpayers can find relevant materials on the TurboTax Blog, and tax and accounting professionals on the Tax Pro Center.

While individuals can do their part, combating fraud in our tax system is an ongoing, industry wide fight. To meet the challenge, other Security Summit priorities that Intuit will continue to support include:

  • Enhancing authentication procedures Intuit will support and implement industry requirements increasing the authentication measures necessary to access tax pro and individual accounts on online and desktop tax solutions
  • Improving information sharing. Such as establishing best practices and standards for reporting suspicious behavior to the IRS and state tax authorities and creating real-time opportunities to share threat intelligence
  • Heightening cybersecurity. Such as continuing to evolve and enhance Intuit’s monitoring and system security measures against cybercriminal attacks, while working through the Security Summit to create a secure tax ecosystem.

Tax officials at the federal and state levels, along with Intuit and other tax preparation companies have been working hard over the past 20 months to develop and meet these priorities. Intuit is proud to be an industry leader in these efforts, supporting united efforts to fight fraud and help protect taxpayer information.

No doubt the security actions implemented through the Security Summit process have made an impact. The IRS reported that in the prime of last filing season and through September they stopped more than $4 billion in fraudulent return payments. Moreover, IRS reported fewer taxpayers became victims of tax-related ID theft.

But, our work isn’t done yet. Still many victims of tax-related ID theft suffer. And fraudsters are highly adaptive to our security efforts. So as the “Taxes.Security.Together.” campaign suggests, individuals, the tax industry and government must all continue together to work for security in our tax system.

Happy National Tax Security Awareness Week.