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Protecting Clients from Tax-Related Identity Theft

Tax-related identity theft is a continuing problem, with the National Tax Advocate reporting that the use of stolen Social Security numbers to collect fraudulent tax refunds increased more than 78 percent from 2011 to 2012, affecting nearly 450,000 individuals. Experian's ProtectMyID service offered the following advice for ways that taxpayers can protect themselves. A trustworthy tax preparer is an important part of the solution.

Place tax documents in a secure location, such as a safe or a locking file cabinet, and store them there until needed to prepare tax forms. Do not leave them in a car.

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Some tax apps require users to take photos of W2 forms. Be sure to delete images after use.

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Password-protect your smartphone.

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Do not follow links in emails or text messages to the IRS site. Always type "irs.gov" directly into a browser to avoid vicious links. Report fraudulent IRS emails, texts or phone calls to phishing@irs.gov.

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Keep operating systems and all computer protection software up to date.

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Do not use public computers to e-file taxes.

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Tax preparers should tell clients about the security measures employed by their offices.

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Tax preparers should not ask clients to sign blank tax returns.

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Wipe the hard drive before disposing of or donating an old computer that contains personal or financial information.

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Monitor credit reports regularly.

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Tax Extenders You Can Count On

Tax extenders, temporary tax provisions that are reinstated by Congress on a regular basis, have been a recurring part of the tax arena for years. Most of the current group up for debate have expired at the end of 2013, and their eventual extension will be retroactive, but not all will be extended. Here are the best bets.

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The 2014 Technology Pacesetters

Our annual list of innovative accounting resellers

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Firm Fitness: 10 Ways to Keep Your Staff Healthy

Health and wellness perks from our Best Firms to Work For

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The Best Firms to Work For Awards 2014

Accounting Today recognizes the profession's best workplaces

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10 Year-End Tax Tips

As 2014 draws to a close, there may be more planning opportunities than ever before, but also more traps for the unwary, according to Grant Thornton LLP.

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The 2014 MP Elite

The third edition of our annual report highlights 10 outstanding accounting firm leaders.

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Most Unusual Resume Lies

The pressure to stand out in a sea of applicants may tempt job seekers at accounting firms and other businesses to be less than honest on their resumes. When CareerBuilder asked about the most unusual lie they've ever caught on a resume, employers recalled these doozies.

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10 Ways to Be More Memorable

Tips to help professionals stand out (in a good way)

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6 Tips to Prevent a Data Breach

The steps businesses should take to protect against a credit card breach, according to the AICPA

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7 Signs Your Best Employees Are About to Leave

Tell-tale indicators that your rock stars are eyeing the door

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