IRS recruits H&R Block’s Pickering for ETAAC
But she’s not battling the bad guys alone. Pickering and 15 other tax industry leaders were recently tapped by the IRS to be new members of its Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC). The group studies e-filing and related electronic tax administration issues, then makes recommendations about focus areas and priorities to the IRS and Congress.
Recently, ETAAC refined its mission.
“Going forward, ETAAC will focus on specifically addressing the challenges of stolen identity refund fraud,” says Pickering, vice president and executive director of The Tax Institute at H&R Block, who began her three-year ETAAC term in early September.
One of Pickering’s first tasks on ETAAC was attending a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C., where:
- IRS representatives briefed ETAAC members on the background of ETAAC and the Security Summit, their actions and their accomplishments.
- ETAAC members then began to identify common themes and issues for further research and potential recommendations. Possibilities include:
- Legislation regarding data sharing and IRS funding for a tax industry group in the works called ISAC (Information Sharing and Analysis Center). When established, ISAC will be a trusted, third-party provider that can identify and share tax trends with members of the tax industry.
- Adopting one set of security standards for the tax industry
- Risk assessment, or identifying future, potential areas of vulnerability, such as:
- The PATH (Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes) Act
- Small practitioners
- Small providers
- Taxpayers. Help might include providing taxpayers with information on best practices for how to protect their identity, and what to do if they’ve been victimized.
One team, one goal
Pickering’s selection for ETAAC wasn’t her first high-profile, national appointment, however. In March 2015, she helped launch the IRS Security Summit, a broad, public/private partnership of the IRS, state departments of revenue and the tax industry.
“The Security Summit has been extremely successful in bringing together different groups to work together to protect taxpayers and set high industry standards,” says Pickering. “We are holding ourselves accountable at the highest levels.”
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