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

April 10 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during March, report them to your employer. You can use Form 4070.

April 15 — Individuals *2017 Filing Deadline: 04-17, 2018*
File a 2017 income tax return (Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) and pay any tax due. If you want an automatic 6 month extension of time to file the return, file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. For more information, see Form 4868. Then, file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ by 10-15.

April 15 — Corporations *2017 Filing Deadline: 04-17, 2018*
File a 2017 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120) and pay any tax due. Details

April 15 — Individuals
If you are not paying your 2018 income tax through withholding (or will not pay in enough tax during the year that way), pay the first installment of your 2018 estimated tax. Use Form 1040ES.

April 15 — Household Employers
If you paid cash wages of $2,000 or more in 2017 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H Details

April 15 — Corporations
Deposit the first installment of estimated income tax for 2017 Details

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

April 15 — Household employers
If you paid cash wages of $$2,000 or more in 2017 to a household employee, you must file Schedule H (Form 1040). If you are required to file a federal income tax return (Form 1040), file Schedule H (Form 1040) with the return and report any household employment taxes. Report any federal unemployment (FUTA) tax on Schedule H (Form 1040) if you paid total cash wages of $1,000 or more in any calendar quarter of 2016 or 2017 to household employees. Also, report any income tax you withheld for your household employees.

April 30 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the first quarter of 2018. Deposit or pay any undeposited tax under the accuracy of deposit rules. If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full, you have until 05-10 to file the return.

April 30 — Federal unemployment tax.
Deposit the tax owed through 03-if more than $500.

View More Tax Dates