A majority of Americans continue to be concerned about the privacy and safety of their personal and financial data when filing their tax returns online.
According to a new survey commissioned by Taxsoftware.com, 70% expressed concerns about the safety of their data when using desktop computers to file their state and federal tax forms. In addition, 68% said they are concerned when using their iPads or tablets, while 69% are concerned when using their smartphones.
All of the results indicate dramatically higher concerns than when the survey was originally conducted in 2012. Three years ago, 52% of the survey respondents expressed concerns with using desktop computers, 42 percent when using iPads or tablets, and 54 percent when using smartphones.
"The rise in concern by taxpayers is to be expected, given the recent headlines about computer hacking and data theft," said Taxsoftware.com spokesperson Mickey Macedo in a statement. "In one respect, the IRS is actually encouraging the theft of private financial information by providing a free e-file service that allows criminals to repeatedly guess at taxpayer information. This allows hackers to steal tax refunds at no cost, and at little risk to themselves. The IRS would do all taxpayers a great favor by eliminating its free e-file service, and thereby dramatically and immediately help reduce fraud.
The survey was commissioned by Taxsoftware.com, and conducted February 8-10, 2015 by Google Surveys with a margin of error of 2.5%. The survey consisted of a national sample of 6,500 of adults 18 years of age or older from an online panel. The percentages were rounded up or down.
Michael Cohn is editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com.
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