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Americans Worried About Their Private Data While Filing Income Tax Returns

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

The results of a new survey show that a large majority of Americans are worried about the security and privacy of their personal and financial information while filing income tax returns online. The survey was conducted by Taxsoftware.com, a portal launched by Washington DC based Internet Programming & Consulting, Inc., which offers a wide variety of tools for individuals as well as businesses for filing income tax returns, excise tax and information returns online. The survey targeted 6500 American adults and was conducted via Google Surveys in the early part of 2015 (error margin for the results was 2.5 percent).

As per the results unveiled by the company, a large majority of survey participants expressed concern regarding the safety of their sensitive data while filing federal tax returns through computers, tablets like iPads or Smartphones. According to the survey, 70 percent of the respondents were worried about the safety of their personal and financial data while filing returns through desktop computers. The corresponding figures for tablet (including iPad) and Smartphone users was 68 percent and 69 percent respectively.

These figures show a marginal increase when compared with the survey results from the last year. In 2014, 68 percent of survey participants had said that they were worried that their personal information might get compromised while they were filing e-returns through computers. The corresponding figure for Smartphones and tablet users stood at 65 percent.

While the year-on-year survey results do not show a dramatic increase, they do paint a gloomier picture when compared with the figures from 2012; the first time the survey was conducted. That year, 52 percent of survey participants had showed concern while filing returns through desktop computers while the figures for tablet and Smartphone users stood at 42 percent and 54 percent respectively.

While commenting on the results, Mickey Macedo, a spokesperson from Taxsoftware.com; attributed the increase to the recent media coverage about data theft and hacking. He was also of the opinion that the IRS was actually encouraging theft of American people’s sensitive information by offering a totally free e-filing service. The free service allows anyone, including criminals and hackers; to steal tax refund information by supplying random Social Security or Tax Identification numbers. Mickey also said that the agency would do everyone a favor by removing access to the service from its portal.

The results of the survey clearly show that Americans are getting a lot more aware about the privacy and security dangers posed by the latest gadgets and digital technologies. A recent survey even showed that 45 percent Americans now consider privacy even more important than the national security while an earlier survey showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans were worried about the security of their private data on the web. But as Mickey rightly points out, it would require efforts from both the government agencies as well as online solution providers to offer an uncompromising level of security and privacy on the web.

May 16, 2015

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