Be Aware of EFIN Scam Emails
Attention tax professionals! The IRS and Security Summit partners are issuing a warning about a new scam that could jeopardize your clients and your identity.
Scammers are pretending to be tax software providers, tricking professionals into handing over their Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs). They claim it's for a required verification process to transmit tax returns. In reality, they aim to steal valuable client data and your identity, potentially leading to fraudulent tax returns and refunds.
Special Webinars on How to Protect Yourself and Your Clients
To protect yourself, the IRS is organizing special webinars starting on Feb. 12.
These sessions are designed to educate the tax community about this emerging scam. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel emphasizes the importance of being cautious during this busy filing season, urging tax professionals to ensure strong security practices and be wary of suspicious emails.
Attend an IRS Webinar
Space is limited; continuing education credits will not be offered:
Monday, Feb. 12, at 12 p.m. Eastern │11 a.m. Central │10 a.m. Mountain & Arizona│9 a.m. Pacific│8 a.m. Alaska │7 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian.
Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 1 p.m. Eastern │12 p.m. Central │11 a.m. Mountain & Arizona│10 a.m. Pacific│9 a.m. Alaska │8 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian.
Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 2 p.m. Eastern │1 p.m. Central │12 p.m. Mountain & Arizona│11 a.m. Pacific│10 a.m. Alaska │9 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian.
Thursday, Feb. 15, at 3 p.m. Eastern │2 p.m. Central │1 p.m. Mountain & Arizona│12 p.m. Pacific│11 a.m. Alaska │10 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian.
Friday, Feb. 16, at 3 p.m. Eastern│2 p.m. Central │1 p.m. Mountain & Arizona│12 p.m. Pacific│11 a.m. Alaska │10 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian.
How to Spot a Scam Email
Already, the IRS has received reports of scammers using a U.S.-based area code in fake emails requesting EFIN documents. Be on the lookout for variations with different fax numbers for software vendors, inconsistent email wording, and a German footer in the email.
Remember, if you receive an email claiming to be from a software provider, do not respond or follow any instructions in the email. The IRS advises against proceeding with any steps outlined in the fraudulent email.
The scam typically involves a message like the following example provided by the IRS:
Help us protect you.
Because many Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) are stolen each year and used to file fraudulent tax returns, the IRS has asked software vendors, such as Software A, to verify who the EFIN owner is by getting a copy of the IRS issued EFIN document(s). Our records show that we do not have a document for one or more of the EFINs that you transmit with.
What this means for you: Until your EFIN is verified, you will be unable to transmit returns. Please provide a copy of your EFIN Account Summary from IRS e-Services, with a status of ‘Completed’, to Software B for verification.
To send us your EFIN Summary document:
Fax to Software B at 631-995-5984
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOUR PREPARER TAX IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (PTIN) APPLICATION CANNOT BE USED AS DOCUMENTATION FOR YOUR EFIN.
If you do not have the above documentation you can get a copy of your IRS Application Summary from IRS e-Services by following the below steps or call the IRS e-Services helpline at 866-255-0654.
1. Sign in to your IRS e-Services account
2. Choose your organization from the list provided and click Submit
3. Click the Application link to access your existing application
4. Click the e-File Application link
5. Select the existing application link that applies to your organization
6. Click the Application Summary link for the area of the application you wish to enter
7. Click the Print Summary link at the bottom of the summary presented on the screen
If you have any questions please contact the Compliance Department at xxx-xx-xxxx for assistance.
Thank you for your business. We look forward to serving you this coming season.
How to Report a Scam Email
If you encounter such an email, resist the urge to comply and report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Save the email and send it as an attachment.
Stay vigilant, be cautious of phishing scams, and report any suspicious activity promptly. Your diligence can make a significant difference during this tax season!
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal tax advice. Advanced Tax Solutions is not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information. It is your responsibility to refer to official IRS documentation for information regarding any tax laws or tax information shown here.