IRS building sign

Tax pros can protect clients’ data by looking critically at where in their office they store this data, according to the IRS.

The agency’s Security Summit recommends these questions to assess the physical security of data in an office:

1. Are all the places where taxpayer information is located protected from unauthorized access or theft, as well as natural threats such as floods or tornadoes?

2. Do written procedures prevent unauthorized access and unauthorized processes?

3. Is taxpayer information left unsecured? (This includes data stored electronically. Tax pros should check desks, photocopiers, mailboxes, vehicles and trashcans, as well as rooms in the office or at home.)

4. Who authorizes or controls delivery and removal of taxpayer information, including data stored electronically?

5. Are the doors to file rooms and computer rooms locked?

6. Is taxpayer information disposed of in a secure way, such as with shredders or burn boxes, or is it held in secure temporary file areas for information until it can be properly disposed of?

Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson

Jeff Stimpson is a veteran freelance journalist who previously served as editor of The Practical Accountant.