IRS Offers New Online Features to Help Taxpayers, Preparers

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Taxpayers and tax professionals alike are in store for new perks through the IRS’s Secure Access process.

Taxpayers can now resume creating new accounts for the IRS’s “Get Transcript Online” and other online tools protected by the agency’s Secure Access process.

The IRS had halted use of Secure Access to create new accounts while it switched to Experian — one of the three credit-reporting agencies. All Secure Access tools became available to new users Dec. 10.

A new “Security” feature also will allow taxpayers to access their accounts through the IRS2Go app. The new feature allows the app to generate a unique security code without needing an internet connection. But taxpayers who register for the new feature will have to initially sign up while connected to the internet.

Secure Access offers online protection in two ways: Its identity-verification process helps ensure that users are legitimate, and users enter their username and password plus a security code that is texted to their mobile phone or that is generated by the IRS2Go app.

For tax professionals, the IRS is extending the Secure Access process to e-Services, the set of online tools that include electronic filing, transcript delivery systems and matching of taxpayer identification numbers.

Because tax professionals increasingly are targets of cyberthieves, Secure Access will heighten protections for e-Services and taxpayer information.

For tax professionals who use e-Services but don’t have a Secure Access account, it’s re-registration time. Registration began Dec. 10 for Secure Access and this notice provides more information about it.

Be aware, however, that this isn’t optional. The IRS has to make the change to meet federal information system standards, and “any e-Services user who has not previously created a Secure Access account through Get Transcript Online, IP PIN tool, View Balance or by exception processing in recent days must validate their identity through this more rigorous process,” the IRS states. This also includes all TIN Matching users and users who received Letter 5903 in December 2016 and authenticated themselves by telephone.

Tax professionals also can use the IRS2Go Security feature, which the agency says will help those who lack internet access.

About Terry Sheridan

Terry Sheridan

Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.

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