With tax season in full swing, the Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and tax industry
today warned tax professionals of new email scams that attempt to steal their tax software
The Security Summit partners warned these scams serve as a reminder that tax professionals
remain prime targets for thieves. These thieves try to steal client data and tax preparers’ identities
in an attempt to file fraudulent tax returns for refunds.
The latest phishing email uses the IRS logo and a variety of subject lines such as “Action Required:
Your account has now been put on hold.” The IRS has observed similar bogus emails that claim to
be from a “tax preparation application provider.” One such variation offers an “unusual activity
report” and a solution link for the recipient to restore their account.
“Scams continue to evolve, and this one is especially sinister since it threatens tax professional’s
accounts,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Tax professionals must remain vigilant in
identifying and staying clear of these IRS impersonation emails. A little extra care can protect the
tax professionals and their clients.”
Emails claiming “Your account has been put on hold” are scams
The IRS has observed similar bogus emails that claim to be from tax software providers. The scam
email will send users to a website that shows the logos of several popular tax software preparation
providers. Clicking on one of these logos requests tax preparer account credentials.
The IRS warns tax pros not to respond or take any of the steps outlined in the email. Similar emails
include malicious links or attachments that are set up to steal information PDF or to download
malware onto the tax professional’s computer.
In this case, if recipients enter their credentials into the pop up window, thieves can use this
information to file fraudulent returns by using credentials that were provided by the tax
An example of this type of bogus email states:
Your account has now been put on hold
ALL preparers are required to apply security feature to their Tax Pro account towards 2021 Tax
You have failed to apply new update before expiry date
You are restore and update your acc|ount immediately.
Please Click Here to update your acc|ount now.
Failure to update your account within the next 24hours will lead to you account being terminated
and be barred from filing tax returns claims for 2021 tax season Your access will be restored once
you have updated your details.
Tax professionals who clicked on one of the URLs and then entered in their account information
should contact their tax software preparation provider’s support hotline.
Tax professionals who get a scam email should save the email as a file and then send it as an
attachment to email@example.com. They should also notify the Treasury Inspector General for Tax
Administration at www.tigta.gov to report the IRS impersonation scam. Both TIGTA and the IRS
Criminal Investigation division are aware of this scam.
The IRS, state tax agencies and the nation’s tax industry – working together in the Security Summit
initiative – have taken numerous steps since 2015 to protect taxpayers, businesses and the tax
system from identity thieves. Summit partners continue to warn people to watch out for common
scams and schemes this tax season.
For additional information and help, tax professionals should review Publication 4557,
Safeguarding Taxpayer Data PDF and Identity Theft Information for Tax Professionals.
More information www.irs.gov