Employers large and small must be alert to the growing threat of business identity theft and take additional steps step up cybersecurity protections.
Awareness about business identity theft is one in a series of tips offered by the Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and tax industry, which work together as the Security Summit to protect taxpayers. The Security Summit is marking its fourth National Tax Security Awareness Week by reminding employers that they too can be victims of identity theft.
As with fraudulent individual returns, there are certain warning signs that may indicate identity theft. Business, partnerships and estate and trust filers should be alert to potential identity theft and contact the IRS if they experience any of these issues:
• Extension to file requests are rejected because a return with the Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number (SSN) is already on file;
• An e-filed return is rejected because of a duplicate EIN/SSN is already on file with the IRS;
• An unexpected receipt of a tax transcript or an IRS notice or letter that doesn’t correspond to anything submitted by the filer;
• Failure to receive expected and routine correspondence from the IRS because the identity thief has changed the address.
The IRS also asks those tax professionals preparing business-related returns to step up the “know your customer” procedures. Tax preparation software for business-related returns asks a series of questions. Answering those questions also will help identify suspicious returns.