United States government agencies and other organizations that handle Federal Tax Information (FTI) have a significant responsibility to handle this data wisely. These organizations must protect the confidentiality of the information they receive through their practices, policies, and controls. Failure to do so can lead to data loss, security breaches, or misuse of important information. To minimize the chances of these and other problems, the Internal Revenue Service published IRS-1075. The guidelines in IRS-1075—alongside Safeguards Programs and annual reviews of agencies that handle FTI—ensure that clients’ tax information remains safe and secure. Organizations that understand and implement the recommended controls of IRS-1075 offer better security and integrity for the residents, companies, and other clients whose tax information they handle. How can you ensure your organization follows these practices to the best of its ability? Learn more with these tips for IRS-1075 compliance for your organization.
What Is IRS-1075?
The Internal Revenue Service Publication 1075, or IRS-1075, is a set of guidelines for any and all organizations that possess Federal Tax Information. These guidelines establish security and privacy controls for application, platform, and data center services. Agencies and other organizations that want to successfully secure their FTI must follow the controls, safeguards, practices, and policies that IRS-1075 lays out. These guidelines apply to every kind of data storage in every kind of organization. It doesn’t matter what size agency you have or the role that FTI plays in your work. If you keep Federal Tax Information—physically or electronically—you must comply with IRS-1075. By actively using the guidelines and safeguards that IRS-1075 recommends, organizations prove that they are responsible enough to protect the sensitive information they handle. This helps organizations avoid the serious legal and financial consequences that come with a loss of data or similar security breach.
Tips for IRS-1075 Compliance for Your Organization
Understanding the guidelines and safeguards that IRS-1075 presents is crucial to establishing compliance, integrity, and other best practices within your organization. By reviewing these standards, you can create and implement effective policies for your agency. Doing so will prepare you and your team for annual reviews, inspections, and IRS audits. Keep in mind that even a small mistake can result in severe security breaches. You owe it to your client base—and to your agency—to establish reliable measures to protect the information you handle. Below are a few tips for following IRS-1075 guidelines within your organization.
Establish a Secure Record Keeping System
If your organization receives and handles FTI, you need a permanent record-keeping system. This secure and accurate system must include all records of Federal Tax Information, any documents associated with said records, and any information about access rights to that data—including both internal and external requests. IRS-1075 also states that the organization should maintain these records for at least five years before disposing of them. Finally, the organization is responsible for establishing, maintaining, and updating an inventory of all FTI programs and information systems. This process must occur at least once a year to ensure record-keeping systems remain accurate, secure, and effective.
Review Physical and Electronic Storage Solutions
IRS-1075 discusses both physical and digital storage of Federal Tax Information. These guidelines put forth a set of minimum protection standards to create uniform security measures across organizations that handle FTI. These protection standards include a secured perimeter with locked doors, a security room that can resist forced entry, a badged employee to monitor the area during business hours, and a locked, durable security container. Organizations should also follow IRS-1075 standards for safes, keys, passcodes, identification systems, and other similar control measures.
Restrict Data Access To Authorized Parties
Authorized access is a cornerstone of effective security no matter what your business entails. However, it’s not enough to simply establish authorized access to certain individuals. These individuals should be responsible employees whose duties require access to the secure data. In addition to carefully screening authorized individuals, organizations must implement measures to prevent unauthorized access both in and out of business hours. Restricted areas that only authorized individuals can access limit traffic and keep information out of the hands of unauthorized individuals. All entrances to restricted areas (and any other form of security room) should include a form of controlled access, such as personal keys, electronic passcodes, or a door monitor.
Implement Thorough and Routine Training
To successfully maintain these and other safeguards, organizations must implement effective training programs for their employees and contractors. Establishing proper training requirements promotes education and awareness among employees. This equips your team with the resources necessary to go above and beyond best practices and better protect FTI within your organization. A thorough training program covers disclosure awareness, security awareness, role-based training, contingency training, and incident response training. Additionally, organizations should support and require annual certifications to ensure employees have up-to-date knowledge and skills about FTI security and compliance.
Report on Compliance Procedures
Organizations that receive FTI must draft and submit reports on the procedures they use to keep that information confidential. Most of these reporting requirements revolve around the Safeguard Security Report, Compliance Assurance Process, and the 45-day notification necessary before disclosing FTI to a contractor or other service. In addition to these reporting requirements, the IRS requires internal inspections of your organization. Your IRS point of contact will conduct this inspection to ensure that you maintain and enforce effective security policies.
Safeguard Computer System Security
Computer system security revolves around an organization’s IT infrastructure and its approach to cybersecurity. Your IT infrastructure must protect FTI at all points where you receive, transmit, process, or store the data. IRS-1075 emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity best practices for all information systems within an organization, including equipment, facilities, and personnel that manage FTI. To comply with these guidelines, organizations should adopt best practices, such as File Integrity Monitoring and Security Configuration Management. Microsoft Azure Government and other Azure services offer necessary security capabilities to organizations that must meet IRS-1075 requirements for cybersecurity and beyond. With Microsoft’s cloud services, organizations can build and maintain effective security solutions that follow IRS-1075 best practices. While Microsoft provides the tools, an expert CSP like Atmosera helps you get the most out of your resources. Atmosera has the expertise and dedication you need to implement Microsoft Azure security and compliance that works for every standard your organization has to follow. Contact us today to learn more about your options and the steps you can take to equip your business with responsible, reliable, and reputable security practices.