I don’t want someone to steal your data. If you think I don’t care, remember that it’s bad for my business.
Unfortunately, identity thieves are always trying to steal your info. They’ve even gone after the IRS and the big credit reporting companies. Sometimes they’re individual criminals, and sometimes they’re even governments like North Korea.
So we need to work together to reduce the risks, but there’s always a chance something could happen.
As an Enrolled Agent, I have to follow IRS Circular 230 and various federal laws. Basically, I can’t use the information you give me except to do your taxes or provide other services you request. In some cases, the government can require me to turn over your information for an audit or investigation.
I’m also supposed to tell you what information I collect which is the information you give me as well as information I receive if you authorize me to collect information directly from the IRS or other sources.
Like other tax preparers, I use online tools to help get information from you and prepare your tax return. This is technically considered “sharing” your information, but the software providers also have privacy policies. If you don’t want me to use these tools, I won’t be able to help you.
This website is like most others. It collects basic information like where you are and what kind of computer you have. This information helps with things like figuring out where people are coming from and if the website is easy to use.
You can request help through a contact form or appointment scheduling tool. These tools send what you entered to my email account. Like other emails, they’re good for scheduling and basic questions. Never give Social Security Numbers, account numbers, or other sensitive data via email.
Like most firms, I use a client portal to collect documents with more sensitive information. I use a client portal commonly used by tax professionals, but I can’t guarantee 100% security (no one can). Any data breaches are the sole responsibility of the portal provider.
I do not accept paper documents or other methods of sharing documents. Paper documents also get lost or stolen and are more difficult to manage than cloud systems.
I also use other software such as tax preparation software made for tax professionals. In order to do the work you requested, I have to enter your data into these tools. Again, these tools are used by many tax professionals.
The software providers do take security measures, but there are no 100% guarantees. Any breaches are the sole responsibility of the provider.
While I would like to delete your information forever the second we’re done, the IRS has other ideas. Basically, some criminal tax preparers make up fake tax credits and deductions for people. So the IRS requires me to keep things like a copy of your tax return and some of the information you gave me.
I will not use your data except to provide requested services or as required by the IRS, other government agency, or court order. Because I want to limit what I keep as much as possible, I do not guarantee that I will be able to provide you with copies in the future. You are responsible for saving a copy of your tax return and other documents.
As stated above, I use commercial software providers to collect and manage your data in the cloud. This is a standard and growing practice. These big companies service many firms and have a lot more resources to put towards security compared to a small firm.
If I become aware of any security incident, I will notify you immediately via email.