Tax Fear # 3:
Afraid to e-file because my personal info could be lost or stolen
Roughly 50% of taxpayers send in their returns electronically. Part of the group that comprises the other 50% are afraid that filing electronically puts you and your personal information at risk, and this is why they are still filing the old-fashioned way.
I cannot sit here and tell you that identity theft is not a major issue nowadays. Hackers have become really good at breaking into online financial data systems and will do so from time to time. One of the biggest issues though is not the submission of sensitive material through the computer but the storing of such data on the computer in the first place. Currently, one of the biggest problems the IRS has concerns the theft or loss of laptop computers that contain such information.
The transfer of sensitive tax data online will involve the taxpayer and the IRS server. Make sure everything is secure on your end and that your computer has an up-to-date firewall and virus protection program. As for lost data, make sure you back up your files regularly. There’s no reason that a computer or data loss should cause filing problems. I am afraid that the IRS doesn’t really accept that as an excuse for not filing a return.
P.S. This is a misplaced worry. Although the fear of identity theft is very valid, the fear that an e-file will cause it is wrong. See this article on Taxes and Identity Theft to learn what to really be wary of. Or, try these I.D. theft articles.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tax Fear # 3: