On September 22, 2016 the Internal Revenue Service announced its plan to strengthen the protection for e-services accounts by requiring a stronger identity verification process for existing and new e-services users.

All existing users will have to re-register their e-services accounts. On or around October 24, 2016 all existing users will be directed to update their account information and go through a Secure Access process, which includes:

  • Identity proofing (name, SSN, prior tax return information),
  • Financial verification (account number from credit card, mortgage, home equity loan, HELOC, or car loan; and
  • Mobile phone verification (US-based mobile phone with your name on the account).

What can you do in advance to prepare for transitioning to 2-step identity authentication?

  1. Get Transcripts Online is an IRS tool for taxpayers to obtain their own transcripts. The Secure Access has been implemented for Get Transcripts Online since June 2016. We suggest registering for the Get Transcripts Online tool and pass the Secure Access process now, because your validated identity information will automatically migrate to your e-services account. Then, on October 24, all you will be required to do is change your e-services password. After that time, by default your e-services username will become your username for your personal accounts, such as Get Transcripts Online.
  2. If your mobile phone is registered under your spouse’s or another family member’s name, we highly recommend adding your name as an authorized user on the account before you attempt mobile phone verification with the IRS. Landlines, Skype, Google Voice or similar virtual phones as well as phones associated with pay-as-you-go plans cannot be used. E-services users who cannot pass mobile phone verification can request that an activation code is mailed to you using the address on file with the IRS. Once you receive the activation code in the mail, you must still use a US-based cell phone enabled to receive text messages. Please note, the receipt of activation code by mail may take 5-10 calendar days, and therefore, if you have to use this option, start it now with Get Transcripts Online listed in #1 above.
  3. Starting October 24, every time you login to IRS e-services or use the IRS Transcripts Delivery & Reporting add-on from PitBullTax Software, you will have to receive a text message from the IRS with your 6-digit security code. If you don’t have an unlimited text message plan on your cell phone, we highly recommend obtaining one if you intend to login frequently.
  4. For financial verification the IRS will do a “soft inquiry” on your credit report. For those, who have requested a “credit freeze” on their credit records through Equifax, you must temporarily lift the credit freeze before you can successfully complete the verification process. A “credit freeze” is a security measure that restricts access to your credit report to combat identity theft, and is usually requested by the account owner.
  5. If you don’t have a credit card, mortgage, home equity loan, HELOC or car loan under your name, we highly recommend opening one now to prepare yourself in advance. Only one account is required to pass financial verification.

Starting October 24, the IRS will temporarily add more assistors to the e-Help Desk to provide assistance as needed, and the e-Help Desk toll-free number is 866-255-0654. The assistors may be able to validate an existing user’s identity over the phone. If the verification process is successfully completed, the e-Help Desk assistor will generate an activation code and send it by mail, which may take 5-10 calendar days to receive. Please note, don’t call e-Help Desk now as the assistors will not be able to start the identity verification process over the phone until October 24, 2016.

PitBullTax Software is getting ready for this major change and is preparing to transition to the 2-step verification process in October. We’ll do our best to avoid or at least reduce service interruption to a minimum for those licensees who utilize our IRS Transcript Delivery & Reporting add-on. Please be advised that the Secure Access process is totally controlled by the IRS and PitBullTax Software has no control over availability or proper functioning of e-services during transition. We strongly recommend following the 5 steps described above to be fully prepared for this major e-services update.

We will pass along any new updates to our PitBullTax users as they become available. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact our customer services representatives at 877-474-8285.

Posted at 09/26/2016 01:36:32 PM