Tax Season 2016: Turning ID Theft from a Problem into an Opportunity

Identity theft on the web with credit cards and social security

31% report problems, making it one of the top three issues of the 2016 season. But can accountants turn the problem into a new opportunity?

By Rick Telberg
CPA Trendlines

With identity theft emerging as one of the biggest problems for tax preparers, their clients, and their friends at the Internal Revenue Service, CPA Trendlines is asking how to turn that problem into an opportunity.

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After all, security costs money. If clients are made aware that the danger is real, maybe they could be willing to pay a little more if they know their tax preparer is spending resources on security. It might also be an opportunity for practitioners to offer their IT expertise or IT partners to help clients secure their systems. It would be a win-win-lose situation for practitioners, clients, and hackers, respectively. And even if better security doesn’t translate to better revenues, it’s always a good selling point. Clients need to know of the danger and preparers’ efforts to counter it.

Still, it’s a problem for the practitioners we’re canvassing even when it doesn’t happen, mostly because of the cost and inconvenience of prevention efforts.