In the digital age, the security of sensitive information has become a paramount concern for businesses across all sectors. For tax preparers, this concern is even more pronounced due to the nature of the data they handle. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognizes this and has mandated that all tax preparers have a Written Information Security Plan (WISP). This article aims to guide you through the process of creating your own IRS WISP, ensuring you meet all the necessary requirements and protect your clients’ information effectively.

What is an IRS WISP?

An IRS WISP also referred to as WISP IRS, is a detailed plan outlining how a tax preparer or a tax preparation business will protect the sensitive information they handle. It is a requirement by the IRS and is designed to ensure that tax preparers have robust measures in place to protect against data breaches and other forms of information compromise.

To make it easy, Tech 4 Accountants has created a Free IRS WISP Template for tax preparers.

Why is an IRS WISP Important?

Having a WISP IRS is not just a requirement; it’s a crucial part of your business’s data security strategy. It serves as a roadmap for your information security measures, outlining your policies, procedures, and protocols for protecting sensitive data. It also provides a clear plan of action in the event of a data breach, minimizing potential damage and ensuring a swift response.

Creating Your IRS WISP

Creating an IRS WISP may seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create your IRS Written Information Security Plan:

Step 1: Understand the Requirements

The first step in creating your IRS WISP is to understand the requirements set by the IRS. These requirements outline the minimum standards your plan must meet to be compliant. They include elements such as the designation of a security officer, training requirements for staff, and protocols for responding to a data breach.

Step 2: Conduct a Risk Assessment

A risk assessment is a process of identifying potential threats to your data security and assessing your current measures’ effectiveness. This will help you identify any gaps in your security and prioritize areas for improvement.

Step 3: Develop Policies and Procedures

Based on your risk assessment, develop policies and procedures that address the identified risks. These should cover all aspects of information security, including physical security, digital security, and employee training.

Step 4: Implement Your Plan

Once your policies and procedures are in place, the next step is to implement them. This involves training your staff, installing any necessary security software, and making physical security improvements if needed.

Step 5: Monitor and Review

An IRS WISP is not a set-and-forget document. It should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it remains effective. Regular monitoring will help you identify any new risks and ensure your plan continues to meet IRS requirements.

While creating an IRS WISP can be a complex process, it is an essential part of ensuring your client’s data security. Remember, there are resources available to help you, including a free template from Tech 4 Accountants. However, it’s important to note that using a template should be the start of your process, not the end. It should be customized to fit your specific business needs and the unique risks you face.

Going Beyond the Template

While a template can provide a good starting point, it’s important to remember that every tax preparer’s situation is unique. Your IRS WISP should reflect the specific circumstances of your business, including the types of data you handle, the size of your business, and the specific risks you face. Here are some additional steps you might need to take when creating your IRS WISP:

Step 6: Customize Your Plan

Take the time to customize your plan to fit your business. This might involve adding additional policies or procedures or modifying the ones provided in the template to better fit your business.

Step 7: Get Expert Advice

If you’re unsure about any aspect of your IRS WISP, don’t hesitate to seek expert advice. This could be a cybersecurity expert, a legal professional, or an experienced tax preparer who has already implemented their own WISP.

Step 8: Regularly Update Your Plan

As your business grows and changes, so too should your IRS WISP. Regularly review and update your plan to ensure it continues to provide robust protection for your client’s data.

IRS WISP: A Commitment to Security

Having a comprehensive IRS WISP is more than just a regulatory requirement; it’s a commitment to your clients. It shows that you take data security seriously and that you’re willing to take the necessary steps to protect sensitive information. This can help build trust with your clients and can be a key differentiator for your business in a competitive market.

IRS WISP and Your Business

Implementing an IRS WISP can also have benefits for your business. By identifying potential security risks and implementing measures to mitigate them, you can reduce the likelihood of a data breach. This can save your business from the potential costs and reputational damage associated with a data breach.

Step 9: Train Your Staff

Once your IRS WISP is in place, it’s important to ensure that your staff understands it and knows how to implement it. This might involve formal training sessions or simply making sure that all staff have a copy of the plan and know where to find it. Regular reminders can also be helpful to ensure that the plan is being followed.

Step 10: Test Your Plan

Finally, it’s a good idea to test your IRS WISP to ensure that it’s effective. This might involve a simulated data breach to see how your staff responds, or it could be a regular audit of your security measures. Testing your plan can help identify any weaknesses and ensure that your plan is as effective as possible.


Creating an IRS WISP is a crucial step for all tax preparers. It’s a requirement set by the IRS, and it’s an essential part of protecting your clients’ sensitive data. With the right approach and resources, it’s a task that any tax preparer can accomplish.

Remember, your IRS WISP should be more than just a document; it should be a living part of your business. Regularly review and update your plan, train your staff, and test your plan to ensure it’s effective. With a comprehensive IRS WISP in place, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re doing everything you can to protect your client’s sensitive data.

To make it easy, Tech 4 Accountants has created a Free IRS WISP Template for tax preparers.

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