The IRS is committed to protecting taxpayer and tax preparer data as well as its systems from attacks by cybercriminals. As part of that effort, the IRS has been strengthening the identity authentication process for several IRS.gov self-help tools. This identity authentication process, which we call Secure Access, will help protect tax professionals, your clients and our systems.
What is planned? In late October – target date October 24 – the IRS will strengthen the protections for e-services accounts by requiring a stronger identity verification process for existing and new e-services users. Existing e-services users will be required to re-register and verify their identities, most through the new Secure Access platform. You must revalidate your identity to maintain access to e-services products.
Who is affected? Anyone who currently has an e-services account is affected. This includes individuals who are registered as: Electronic Return Originators, Transmitters, Large Business Taxpayers with e-file mandates, Software Developers, ACA insurance provider fee/Branded prescription drug filers, ACA Information Return Transmitter/Issuer, Reporting agents, Not for Profit (VITA/TCE/LITC) users, States that use Transcript Delivery Service, and IVES Participants. E-services account holders who only use TIN Matching will also need to validate their identity. However, because there is no exchange of sensitive data, these users will have a more streamlined process.
What do I have to do? When you return to your e-services account on or after October 24, you will be directed to update your account information. You will be directed through the Secure Access process, which includes identity proofing, financial verification and mobile phone verification. Secure Access is a two-factor authentication process which means all returning users, once they have successfully registered, must provide their credentials (username and password) AND the security code sent to their mobile phone via text. To learn more about the required steps, review Secure Access: How to Register for Certain Online Self-Help Tools.
What is the IRS doing to help? We are aware of the importance of the e-services tools to its users. Starting October 24, the IRS will temporarily add additional assistors to the e-Help Desk to provide assistance as needed. The assistors may be able to validate an existing user's identity over the phone. If the assistor can complete this process, they will generate an activation code and send it by mail. Once you receive the activation code by mail which will take five to 10 calendar days, you will be able to complete the registration process. The IRS also will be working with partner groups to assist with this process.
How does this change better protect my account? After you successfully register and each time you return to e-services, you will be required to enter your credentials (username and password) AND a security code that will be sent as a text to your mobile phone. This is a two-factor authentication protection. Currently, as you know, we often warn e-services users of phishing emails from criminals seeking to steal your username and password. With two-factor authentication, your credentials alone are not enough to enter the system.
What if I already have a Get Transcript account? If you successfully registered for Get Transcript Online after June 2016, you already have passed the Secure Access process. Your validated identity information automatically will migrate to your e-services account. On October 24, all you must do is change your password. You also should be aware that your e-services username will, by default, become your username for your personal accounts, such as Get Transcript Online. You can register through Get Transcript Online now but if you cannot complete the process, we will be able to assist you via the e-services Help Desk starting October 24.