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E-file fears grow

By Kay Bell ·
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

More than 112 million taxpayers filed their returns electronically last year. If the 2012 filing season follows the trend of recent tax years, even more will e-file their taxes this year.

But that doesn't mean everyone is happy about the prospect or process.

A survey conducted by late last month by Ipsos for online tax filing company found that most Americans are concerned that their personal and financial information would not be kept private and secure if they file their state and federal tax returns on the Internet.

Perhaps it's the regular tax season news of criminal efforts to get our financial data via online avenues.

Or maybe we're just feeling overwhelmed by the enormous expansion of online access.

Whatever the reason, the online tax filing survey found that taxpayer apprehension spiked over security and privacy issues in connection with every available high-tech tax filing device.

Fifty-four percent of those surveyed are concerned about filing via a smartphone; desktop computer e-filing worries 53 percent; laptop filing is a concern for 52 percent; and filing via a personal digital assistant or iPad is worrisome for 41 percent.

More people were worried about e-filing security this year regardless of the device used to transmit their forms to the Internal Revenue Service. But smartphone tax-filing showed the largest security worry increase, according to the survey.

When the same questions were asked last year, 42 percent of taxpayers had some security worries about phone filing. Twelve percent more voiced their security concerns this year.

Of course, the online filing company that asked what people thought about e-filing is trying to keep its corporate chin up.

"While Internet-related security issues are weighing more heavily on the minds of taxpayers today than in 2011, it's important to keep the latest poll numbers in perspective," said spokesman Mickey Macedo in a statement accompanying the poll results. "When our survey was first conducted in 1997, a whopping 83 percent of Americans had worries about Internet-based tax filing. The lesson here is that, over time, tens of millions of people have grown comfortable filing their taxes online."

Is this year's worry spike about online filing security just a blip or a trend? The IRS and tax software companies are hoping, and betting, on the former.

Do you e-file? If so, are you worried about the process but do so anyway because it's relatively fast and easy?

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February 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Ray, you should check out Free File Fillable Forms from the irs website. It's free, and the process is just like what you're doing - filling out the forms needed. No software to load, but it does do the math for you. Received my refund within 7 days of filing.

February 12, 2012 at 5:33 pm

yeah Ray but i bet you''ll spend $20.00 to $100.00 bucks in the bar drinking as if that aint a waste

February 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I have been using for several years now, it is only $17.95, it is awesome, i recommend it to anyone. E-filed my taxes on Jan 25, did get my State refund on Jan 31. Taxact remembers previous years info input and gets you the biggest refund. Try it.

February 10, 2012 at 10:05 am

I don't efile. The reason I don't efile is I refuse to pay for the slight convenience of filing on-line. I simply download the forms I need, follow the instructions, make copies and mail it in. It's not as streamlined, but I don't pay any fees and don't need to download software that I might never need again (next year a different version and another fee?).