Identity Theft

Safeguarding Client Information

Identity theft occurs when someone uses another individual's personally identifiable information, like their name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. As a tax return preparer, you must obtain and store data and information about your clients both electronically and in paper records. This personally identifiable information must be secure. 

See detailed information in Publication 4557PDF, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, A Guide for Your Business. 


Verifying Identity of Clients

To help prevent identity theft, return preparers should confirm identities and taxpayer identification numbers (TINs) of taxpayers, their spouses, dependents and EITC qualifying children contained on the returns to be prepared. TINs include Social Security Numbers (SSNs), Adopted Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ATINs), and Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs).

To confirm identities, the preparer can request a picture ID reflecting the taxpayer’s name and address and social security cards or other documents providing the TINs of all individuals to be listed on the return.