As part of a wider effort to protect taxpayers, the Internal Revenue Service took steps this year to strengthen access to several IRS.gov applications, including adding requirements for the use of security codes texted to mobile phones to access certain tools.

This security code process is part of a two-factor or two-step authentication process that is becoming increasingly commonplace, especially in the social media, financial and tax areas. The two steps to access accounts are your credentials (username and password) plus a security code often sent as a text.

The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation's tax industry — partners in combating identity theft — ask for your help in their efforts. Working in partnership with you, we can make a difference.

That's why we launched a public awareness campaign that we call "Taxes. Security. Together." We've also launched a series of security awareness tips that can help protect you from cybercriminals.

To protect taxpayers, the IRS developed a new process it calls "Secure Access" following efforts by cybercriminals to impersonate taxpayers. Criminals are amassing more and more taxpayer data stolen from sources outside the tax system. They use the data to file fraudulent tax returns or to attempt access to taxpayer accounts.

The more rigorous Secure Access process supports the IRS Get Transcript Online and Get an IP PIN tools.

Here's what you need to be successful:

  • A email address;
  • Your Social Security number;
  • Your filing status and address from your last filed tax return;
  • Your personal account number from a:
    • credit card, or
    • home mortgage loan, or
    • home equity (second mortgage) loan, or
    • home equity line of credit (HELOC), or
    • car loan
  • A readily available mobile phone. Only U.S-based mobile phones may be used. Your name must be associated with the mobile phone account to complete the process in one session. If you have a Google Voice or similar virtual phones or a pay-as-you-go plan, you can opt for an activation code by mail, which will take five to 10 days for delivery. Landlines and Skype may not be used.

Each time you access your IRS.gov accounts, you must have your username, password and your mobile phone handy to receive a security code.

You may be familiar with similar two-factor authentication options. Social media and financial institutions use this option to provide additional protection. For example, these sites may send a security code should they fail to recognize your computer device, there's an attempt to change your password or there's an attempt to transfer money.

The purpose of two-factor authentication is to ensure that you and only you are able to access your accounts.

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

To learn additional ways you can take 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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