IRS closes transcript faxing service to boost security

To increase information security, the IRS will stop its tax transcript faxing service as of Feb. 4.

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Internal Revenue Service federal building Washington DC USA

The IRS said that it worked with the tax prep community to agree that the move will meet practitioners’ needs in e-filing individual returns while further safeguarding taxpayer data.

Cybercriminals who steal transcripts use them to file fraudulent returns that are difficult to detect because they closely mirror a legitimate return. In September, the IRS began to mask personally identifiable information on the transcript.

Discontinuation of the faxing service also applies to business tax transcripts. Business tax transcripts are not masked, however.

Individuals can still call the IRS for a masked tax account transcript. Taxpayers can go to IRS.gov for Get Transcript Online, verify their identities and create an account. They can then view or download a copy of their tax transcript immediately.

Starting Jan. 7, tax professionals who contact the practitioner priority service number may, with proper authorization, have an unmasked Wage and Income transcript deposited in their e-Services secure mailbox. Practitioners must meet certain requirements to use the secure mailbox option.

Tax professionals also can request that an unmasked Wage and Income transcript be sent to the client’s address of record, while taxpayers can request an unmasked transcript for tax prep.

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