The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the nation's tax industry urge you to join their effort to combat identity theft by doing more to protect personal and financial data from online threats.

Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference. That's why for the second year in a row, we have embarked on a public awareness campaign called "Taxes. Security. Together." And, we've launched a series of security awareness tips that can help protect you from cybercriminals. This is all part of the Security Summit effort, a joint effort between the IRS, the states and the private-sector tax industry.

Here's an overview of basic steps to help protect your data:

  1. Use security software. Security software can protect your computer — and your data — from numerous threats posed by malicious programs, also known as malware. Many computers come with security software already installed. Make sure to turn it on. Set it for automatic updates to allow for protection against emerging anti-malware threats. Also, make sure you add security to all your digital devices, including your laptop, tablet and mobile phone.
  2. Use encryption software to protect sensitive data. If you keep sensitive financial data such as prior-year tax returns or important records on your hard drive, consider investing in encryption software to safeguard documents with password protection.
  3. Use strong passwords. Use strong passwords of 10 or more digits that include letters, numbers and special characters. Do not use the same password for all your accounts, especially your financial accounts. Change your passwords every few months. Create passwords not only for your online accounts but also for access to your computer for an added layer of protection.
  4. Avoid phishing emails. Never reply to emails, texts or pop-up messages asking for your personal, tax or financial information. A favorite tactic of cybercriminals is to pose as businesses, credit card companies or even the IRS and ask to update your account or divulge your Social Security number. Reputable companies never ask for sensitive data over unsecured channels.
  5. Back up your data. Periodically back up all the data on your computer via your protected cloud storage or a separate disk. If your data gets stolen or you suffer a disk failure, recovery is easy if you have routinely backed up your information.
  6. Protect your wireless network. If you use a residential wireless network connection, make sure you have a strong password protection for it. And, if you use public Wi-Fi, never share sensitive data. If a public Wi-Fi hotspot does not require a password, it probably is not secure.

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry joined together as the Security Summit to enact a series of initiatives to help protect you from tax-related identity theft in 2017. You can help by taking these basic steps.

To learn additional steps to protect your personal and financial data, visit Taxes. Security. Together. Also read Publication 4524, Security Awareness for Taxpayers.

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Upcoming Tax Dates

February 10 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the fourth quarter of 2017. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full.

February 10 — Certain small employers
File Form 944 to report social security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax for 2017. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year timely, properly, and in full.

February 10 — Farm employers
File Form 943 to report social security and Medicare taxes and withheld income tax for 2017. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year timely, properly, and in full.

February 10 — Federal unemployment tax
File Form 940 for 2017. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the year timely, properly, and in full.

February 10 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during January, report them to your employer Details

February 15 — All businesses
Give annual information statements to recipients of certain payments you made during 2017 Details

February 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in January.

February 15 — All employers
Begin withholding income tax from the pay of any employee who claimed exemption from withholding in 2017, but did not give you Form W4 to continue the exemption this year.

February 15 — Individuals
If you claimed exemption from income tax withholding last year on the Form W-4, you must file a new Form W-04 by this date to continue your exemption for another year Details

February 19 — Everyone
Federal Holiday (Washington's Birthday) Details

February 28 — All businesses
File information returns (for example, Forms 1099) for certain payments you made during 2017.

February 28 — Payers of gambling winnings.
File Form 1096 along with Copy A of all the Forms W2G you issued for 2017. If you file Forms W2G electronically, your due date for filing them with the IRS will be extended to 03-31. The due date for giving the recipient these forms remains 01-31.

February 28 — All employers
File Form W3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, along with Copy A of all the Forms W2 you issued for 2017. If you file Forms W2 electronically, your due date for filing them with the SSA will be extended to 03-31. The due date for giving the recipient these forms remains 01-31.

February 28 — Large food and beverage establishment employers
File Form 8027, Employer's Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips. Use Form 8027T, Transmittal of Employer's Annual Information Return of Tip Income and Allocated Tips, to summarize and transmit Forms 8027 if you have more than one establishment. If you file Forms 8027 electronically, your due date for filing them with the IRS will be extended to 03-31.

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