Research + Tech

Businesses urged to enhance cybersecurity protections

The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry are urging business owners to boost cybersecurity protections against business identity theft, according to

Identity thieves are demonstrating sophisticated knowledge of the tax code and industry filing practices as they attempt to obtain data to file fraudulent returns. To protect taxpayers and their business returns, the IRS has taken steps to identify and prevent business identity theft.

As with fraudulent individual returns, certain signs may indicate a business has fallen victim to identity theft. Businesses, partnerships, and estate and trust filers should be alert to potential identity theft and contact the IRS if they experience any of the following issues:

  • Extension-to-file requests are rejected because a tax return with the Employer Identification Number or Social Security Number already is on file.
  • An e-filed return is rejected because a duplicate Employer Identification Number or Social Security Number already is on file.
  • An unexpected receipt of a tax transcript or IRS notice is received by a filer that does not correspond to anything submitted by the filer.
  • Expected and routine correspondence from the IRS does not arrive because a thief has changed the address.

Additional information regarding how to protect against identity theft is available at

Building safety programs to receive significant funding in 2020

Significant funding for building safety programs was included in federal spending legislation signed by President Trump Dec. 20, 2019. Before the appropriations agreement was approved, the International Code Council® supported its passage by engaging with lawmakers.

The building safety funding provisions include:

  • A $100 million increase to $3.4 billion total for the Community Development Block Grant Program, which funds code adoption and enforcement activities at state and local levels
  • A $20 million increase to $1.26 billion total for Perkins Act career and technical educational state grants
  • An $80 million increase in Federal Emergency Management Agency preparedness grants to $2.9 billion total, including a $35 million increase to $560 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program and a $5 million increase to $355 million for the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grant Program, and Emergency Management Performance Grant Program, respectively
  • A $1.6 million increase to $4.5 million total for WaterSense, which the International Green Construction Code® leverages and is supported by the International Accreditation Service and ICC Evaluation Service products
  • A $3 million increase to $10 million total for the Department of Energy’s Building Energy Codes Program, which supports the development and implementation of the International Energy Conservation Code®

In addition, the provisions included a $167 million increase in funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Notably, NIST’s Science and Technical Research and Services received a $29.5 million increase. The institute’s disaster resilience grants also were preserved, and current funding levels will allow NIST’s premise plumbing research to continue.

The legislation also extends the 45L tax credit for new homes that are 50% more efficient than the 2006 IECC from Dec. 31, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2020, and, during the same period, the 179D tax deduction for efficiency improvements to commercial buildings.


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