New Steps TurboTax and H&R Block are taking to keep you safe
Taxpayers are planning to get their finances organized in time for the April 18 filing deadline. Unfortunately, tax security theft is causing a challenge. Identity thieves are also planning to file fraudulent returns.
For many years, phony tax returns have been a critical challenge for the Internal Revenue Service. According to the Government Accountability Office, IRS provides that it issued approximately $5.8 tax year in fraudulent tax refunds in 2013 alone. A 2012 approximation from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration also established that due to identity theft over the subsequent five years, IRS could issue $21 billion in potentially fraudulent tax returns. Recent high-profile cyber security incidents have kept taxpayer on the edge.
New guidelines are in place to sort out this problem. H&R Block and Intuit and other companies will share more data with the government to try to identify and rule out suspicious returns.
Tax filing companies will also enhance and add security features this year. The guidelines require passwords to have more complex combinations of characters. Users who exceed a specific number of failed login attempts will be locked out. Companies will use a two-factor authentication to help reduce the security breaches.
Some of these features are not new to tax prep software. Nonetheless, some firms are changing how they operate. TurboTax now allows users to turn on two-factor authentication each time they log in the service. Hackers often rely on knowledge of the victim’s personal life to trick companies to given them targets’ login details by answering security questions. According to Intuit Vice President Julie Miller, Turbo and other software will actively notify users whenever changes are made to their accounts so as to sort out this threat and others.
H&R Block’s Ciaramitaro says the company will aggressively send more and new data to the government than it has done in the past to solve the tax identity theft problem caused by using outdated systems that identity thieves have mastered to outwit easily.
There are many factors online tax preparers need to figure in when choosing the correct option for them to file their taxes in 2015. A few of these concerns are safety, tools provided by the various companies, and pricing.
TurboTax 2015 has provided a tremendous example of safety measures when it comes to your online tax preparation. Regrettably, many companies do not take the same measures that TurboTax did with Turbo Tax 2013 and more recent versions. Because certain companies do not take security features as one of their top priorities, a rise has been seen in tax refund theft. To ensure that you receive your tax refund and it does not fall into the hands of someone else, you should look for tax preparation software that includes security features and use a cryptic password for your tax preparation software.
Once you have located a few tax preparation software packages with high security features, look at the tools featured in each version of the tax preparation software in your line up. Are the tools listed with the software what you will need for your specific tax preparation and will they lead to an ease of preparation or are there too many for your tax preparation and will lead to little more than jumbling up the process of your tax preparation. Tools should provide convenience and efficiency, not confuse consumers.
Once the tools and security features have been looked into, you should look into the price of the tax preparation software that you still have on your list. If they have made it through your security and tools checklist, each should provide just what you need for your tax preparation needs so you can, hopefully, pick from a variety of prices.
The trademarked TaxAct Express allows taxpayers to enjoy the maximum guaranteed refund when they e-file their 2014 taxes.
TaxAct Express, an app for smart phones, also offers free federal and state tax filing, the first company to do so. Everything required to file a straightforward tax return is included in the app, including the standard forms such as the 1040 and 1040EZ.
Other scenarios affecting your 2014 or 2015 taxes are also included and covered in the TaxAct app, including unemployment and dividend income, interest and deductions for families on a lower income, education and dependents. The app asks a series of simple questions and as these are answered, the amount due or owed will update itself, along with a summary allowing users to see in detail how that figure was arrived at. TaxAct double checks the accuracy of the information and looks for mistakes once the questions have all been answered.