The Internal Revenue Service is reminding tax professionals that they must implement safeguards to protect taxpayer data.

In an email Monday to taxpayers, the IRS pointed out that the security of taxpayer accounts and personal information is a top priority for the IRS as referenced in Revenue Procedure 2007-40. The IRS has been combating an increase in identity theft-related tax fraud cases in recent years, although a report released Friday by the Government Accountability Office found that the IRS also needs to do more in improving its own information security controls (see GAO Finds Weaknesses Remain in IRS’s Security Controls).

In its email alert Monday, the IRS asked tax professionals to review the following documents:

Publication 4557, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, A Guide for Your Business, provides information on federal and state information security laws and regulations, as well as industry standards and best practices. It describes the various security provisions and rules that impact tax professionals. The document assists tax professionals in understanding their requirement to protect the privacy and confidentiality of taxpayer data, and provides guidance to implement the necessary security controls within their business to satisfy these requirements.

Publication 4600, Safeguarding Taxpayer Information, Quick Reference Guide for Business, is a tri-fold brochure that summarizes Publication 4557. It is written for businesses involved in the preparation and filing of tax returns. It provides information on requirements to safeguard taxpayer information, safeguarding techniques and data security incidents.