Despite the proliferation of online tax filing software and apps, more than half of Americans are concerned that their personal and financial information may be compromised according to a new national poll that was released this week.
The poll, commissioned by the online tax preparation website Taxsoftware.com, showed that 49% of Americans are either ‘somewhat or very concerned’ about using their desktop computers to file their taxes online. Even more surprising was that the study showed that the more advance the technology was the more trust consumers had in it to keep their tax information secure. Here’s how it broke down:
Technology % Concerned
Laptop computer 44
Personal Digital Assistant (i.e. BlackBerry) 32
“The two good pieces of news from this survey are that people apparently feel the safest using the latest iPad technology to file their tax returns and that, over time, more Americans are feeling more comfortable about using the Internet to file those returns,” said Taxsoftware.com spokesperson Mickey Macedo.
While almost half of consumers is still a lot, it less than the roughly 67% of Americans recorded to have these concerns in a 2007 poll and the 83% that had concerns in 1997.
The Federal Government Imposes Security Standards to Protect E-filers:
To protect consumers that e-file their federal tax returns, the IRS implemented six security, privacy and business standards online tax preparation providers must follow last January in an effort to protect the information taxpayers divulge in the returns. The enforcement grace period for the program ended on Dec. 31. Before that, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act was enacted into law in 1999 and requires financial companies offering products to consumers to explain how they share the information consumers provide them and how they protect that information.
Also check out: File Your Tax Returns for Free With Free File Through the IRS
If you have concerns about filing taxes online, or believe that the tax preparation company you are using may not be taking the necessary safeguards to protect your information then you can contact the Federal Trade Commission to find out more about your rights or to file a complaint.