Peter VanderWoude, MS, CPA, CGMA

January 31, 2019

In past years, how often have you communicated sensitive tax information with your tax preparer through email? Probably a lot. Stop it now!

Most of us like the familiarity of email, but it is the culprit in 91 percent of all security breaches. All it takes is one click of your mouse to open a malicious link or file. Your security is compromised and you won’t even know it. Sitting in boiler rooms around the world, cybercriminals patiently watch your keystrokes and your email to spoof you or your tax preparer to get you to give them the information they want. Same thing can and does happen to large and small businesses. Guess who the cyber thieves are targeting now? Tax firms because “that’s where the money is.”

Just consider that a single tax return includes the taxpayer’s name and Social Security Number, as well as address, phone number and bank account numbers. It’s a treasure trove of sensitive data that cyber thieves crave. The number of tax firms being hacked each year with data stolen is alarming. Every tax firm must offer a secure way for you to communicate and share your tax documents with them. To protect our clients, Equus Advisors has invested in a military-grade, multi-factor authentication secure sharing platform called Liscio.

Liscio is an invitation-only solution that protects and preserves all communication and data exchange between our firm and our clients. No more unsecure emails that bounce across multiple servers around the world before getting to its intended recipient. Liscio supports direct, secure communication between our tax professionals and our clients. Liscio is accessed on both desktop computers and mobile devices. It has messaging functionality and is a portal to store tax documents and tax returns.

Once you are invited to Liscio and set up your account, you will be able to take photos or attach scans of your tax documents and send them to us within the application. Our staff is notified that you have sent us a message and we work with the documents and information sent to us. If anything is missing, we will set up a task within Liscio for you to send us the required information to prepare your return. On your phone, you will get a task notification to go to Liscio to read the message.

When your return is prepared and reviewed, our firm will upload the completed tax return, signature documents and single PDF of your source documents in the application. Anytime you need access to your tax return or source documents, you have a secure place in which to view and retrieve it. Convenient!

If you want to avoid unnecessary risks to your tax data, stay out of email! Choose a tax firm that has invested in a secure communications platform that protects your confidential data.

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