Saturday, April 22, 2017

Data Security And Your Tax Preparer

I annually reflect on what was unique about every tax season, other than this is a difficult profession. I can understand why accounting graduates increasingly dismiss public accounting as a career choice.

I am concerned with the increasing concentration of confidential information in an accounting office.

We have always had your name, address, birthdate and social security number.

Right there is big bucks to an Eastern European identity thief.

Riding the best-intentions train, you now have states – Tennessee comes to mind – that will not allow you to pay their (Hall) tax with a check. No sir, you have to have that bad boy drafted against your bank account. I understand Tennessee’s position – it is cheaper than handling a check – but I do not care about their position. How dare they coerce you to make it convenient for them to Soprano your money. If it is so much trouble, then stop taking the money!

You have no choice with those states.

So we have your bank information.

We now have additional “identity theft” safeguards. For example, some states require driver’s license information before you can file your return. Wow, I now have a copy of your driver’s license. And your spouse’s, if you are married.

Seems the government has shifted data protection responsibility to your friendly neighborhood tax preparer.

I did not want your data. I still don’t want it, but there it is - on my server.

Which can be carried away in an instant.

How hard would it be for someone to take down my office door, walk to the server, pull out all the wires and walk out with the thing?

And their goes your name, address, birth date, social security number, bank account information, driver’s license, those of your spouse and children, and who knows what else.

Identity thieves are spending way too much time hacking into Target and other major corporations.

It would be easier to break into CPA offices across the fruited plain. One person. One server. Repeat. You could probably knock out a dozen or two in a day.

Thank heavens our government is standing guard over all CPA firm servers in all the offices in all the cities across the land. 

Otherwise we would have reason to be concerned.

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