Identity thieves increasingly target tax professionals. A thief who breaches the data of one tax return preparer can gain hundreds or thousands of taxpayers' data. One way you can monitor for suspicious activity is to check how many federal tax returns have been filed with your Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN).

As part of the ongoing concerns about security and identity theft, the IRS recommends that you verify the number of returns submitted under your EFIN. Do this routinely and especially during filing season.

Verify your EFIN through IRS e-Services. If you do not have an e-Services account, then your first step would be to go to e-Services and register for an account.

Once you have logged into your e-Services account, follow these steps to verify the number of returns electronically filed with the IRS:

  1. Select your name,
  2. In the left banner, select 'Application',
  3. In the left banner, select 'e-File Application',
  4. Select your name again,
  5. In the listing, select 'EFIN Status' and on this screen you can see the number of returns filed based on return type.

Help safeguard your EFIN. During the filing season, check on your EFIN status to ensure that it is not being used by others. Your e-Services account will give you the number of returns the IRS received, which you can match to your records. The statistics are updated weekly. Please contact the IRS e-help Desk at 866-255-0654 if you see a significantly higher volume than you transmitted.

For more information on EFINs, Publication 3112, IRS e-file Application and Participation, provides participation requirements and necessary steps to obtain an EFIN. Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers of Individual Income Tax Returns, provides rules and requirements for participation in IRS e-file involving individual income tax returns and related forms and schedules.

This is one in a series of special security awareness tax tips for tax professionals. The "Protect Your Clients; Protect Yourself" campaign's goal is to raise awareness among tax professionals. It is an initiative of the Security Summit, a joint project by the IRS, states and the tax community to combat identity theft. Because of the sensitive client data held by tax professionals, cybercriminals increasingly are targeting the tax preparation community.

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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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