Masking SSNs for 1040 clients with preparers outside the U.S. for Section 7216 compliance

Alerts and notices
Web text: mask-ssn

To comply with IRS regulations related to disclosing tax information to preparers located outside the United States, you can establish a password to control which preparers can view Social Security numbers (SSNs) in UltraTax CS clients. The password should be given to only those preparers who are permitted to view SSNs. All users will be prompted to enter the password when opening UltraTax CS. When the password is not known, UltraTax CS will open but will run in a restricted mode that masks SSNs and prevents certain dialogs from opening.

This feature applies only to the current-year version of UltraTax CS. Enabling this feature does not mask SSNs in other CS Professional Suite applications, including prior-year versions of UltraTax CS. It is the responsibility of the licensee to restrict access to SSNs in other applications for preparers that are not permitted to view them.

To mask SSNs and establish a password for revealing them, follow these steps.

  1. Choose Setup > Security, and enter or define the master password.
  2. On the Security tab, mark the Require a password to display SSNs checkbox.
  3. On the Modify Password to Display SSNs dialog, enter and verify the new password. The password cannot be the same as the master password defined on the Modify Master Password dialog.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Communicate the password for revealing SSNs to all appropriate preparers and staff members.

Enabling this feature to mask Social Security numbers will automatically disable all data sharing functionality for clients whose SSNs are hidden. Entering the password defined in the following steps will reveal the client's SSN, but will not enable data sharing.

Special information

Please carefully review the following information when enabling this feature.

  • Preparers, reviewers, or staff who cannot view SSNs can still process returns in UltraTax CS, but the application will mask all SSNs with "###-##-####" on input screens, forms, dialogs, and other areas that normally display client SSNs.
  • Certain areas of the application that normally display SSNs will be unavailable to preparers, reviewers, or staff who are prevented from viewing SSNs. These areas include the Electronic Filing Status dialog, CS Connect, Data Mining, the Client Communications dialog, and the CS Connect transmission log.
  • When SSNs are masked, the printed copy of the client's return will not be submittable, and the return will fail electronic filing error checking. A preparer who is permitted to view SSNs should print the return or create the electronic file to avoid these issues.
  • Client ID are not affected by this feature, so you may want to rename a client's ID in UltraTax CS if it contains the client's SSN.
  • If you use the electronic delivery features in UltraTax CS, we recommend that you avoid using the TIN (EIN/SSN) as a component of a generated password, as the Client Communications dialog will display the TIN after the electronic copy of the return or an electronic organizer is created. To disable this component of the password, choose Setup > Client Communications, click the Password button, and clear the Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN/EIN) checkbox.
  • Certain screens contain SSNs in fieldviews, such as the eligible student information statement on Screen Educate in UltraTax/1040. Since SSNs will be masked in these lists, preparers who cannot view SSNs will not be able to select an item from the fieldview.
  • We recommend you restrict access to the Help > Repair dialog by marking the corresponding checkbox on the Security Configuration > Security tab if using standard security, or restrict the Help > Repair privilege if advanced security is enabled. This helps prevent access to the CS Connect connection logs, which can contain SSNs.

Related topics

Modify Password to Display SSNs dialog