The IRS changed its verification procedures for callers
As practitioners may have discovered on Jan. 3, 2018 on their own, the IRS on its Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) phone line updated its practitioner verification procedures when authenticating faxed Forms 2848 – Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representation, 8821 – Tax Information Authorization and 8655 – Reporting Agent Authorization.
In the past, when tax practitioners called the PPS line, the IRS Customer Service Representatives (CSR) simply asked the practitioner for his or her CAF number, name and address when verifying the caller’s identity for faxed Forms 2848 or 8821. Effective Jan. 3, 2018, CSRs are now also asking for the caller’s social security number and date of birth. When asked about the change in verification procedures, CSRs stated that this is an additional layer of security in the tax practitioners’ verification process in response attempts to obtain taxpayer information by impersonating practitioners. PPS phone line representatives have registered cases when callers have submitted the appropriate authorization forms with a practitioner’s centralized authorization file (“CAF”) number in an attempt to gain taxpayer information. One CSR stated that a number of CAF numbers were compromised and the IRS instituted the caller verification change until the IRS can determine if the compromised CAF numbers are deemed secure. A practitioner’s social security and date of birth information is not saved or stored to the taxpayer’s records, but merely used for verification purposes.
The IRS has not made any formal announcement of the procedural change yet. In addition, we have not discovered any changes to any of the provisions in the Practitioner Priority Service’s Internal Revenue Manual. The change in identity verification practices may be a temporary measure while the IRS is investigating compromised tax practitioners’ CAF numbers or may become a permanent practice making its way into the provisions of the Internal Revenue Manual.